Baking Glossary

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Welcome to TheBakingPan Baking Glossary.

This baking glossary is a comprehensive assortment of dessert, pastry, and confectionery terms.What is the difference between desserts, pastries, and confections, or are they actually the same thing? Almost but they’re not quite the same thing. Dessert is a general term for something normally served at the end of a meal, it can be hot or cold, and includes any number of sweet things such as cakes, pies, ice cream, cookies, pudding, fruits, and soufflés. Pastry may be sweet or savory, and refers to something made with dough, such as pies, quiche, tarts, and Danishes. Confections are small bite-size sweets, such as chocolates and candies. A glossary is an alphabetized collection of specialized terms with definitions, in this case all terms related to baking. Hopefully within this baking glossary you will find what you are looking for, or learn a sweet fact you didn’t previously know.

 

Use of Glossary:
This baking glossary is a continual work in progress, with new baking terms, changes, and updates being made occasionally. This baking glossary may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written or verbal permission of Carol Arroyo, TheBakingPan, and appropriate credit given. If you have any suggestions regarding this baking glossary, please feel free to contact me with your ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:
The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, Countryman Press, Vermont, 2003;
Beranbaum, Rose Levy, The Pie and Pastry Bible, Scribner, New York, 1998;
Bloom, Carole, The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections, Hearst Books, New York, 1995;
Daley, Regan, In the Sweet Kitchen, Artisan, New York, 2001;
Mushet, Cindy and Sur La Table, The Art & Soul of Baking, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Missouri, 2008;
Rinsky, Glen and Laura Rinsky, The Pastry Chef’s Companion, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey, 2009;
Stewart, Martha, Baking Handbook, Clarkson Potter, New York, 2005;
Teubner, Christian, Cakes & Pastries, Hearst Books, New York, 1983;
Walter, Carole, Great Pies & Tarts, Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, 1998;
Williams Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, Welden Owen Inc, California, 2003

abaissage – A French term meaning the rolling out of pastry dough.

abaisse -  A French term that describes a piece of rolled out pastry, especially puff pastry, into thin sheets. The term also refers to a thin slice of sponge cake.

acid – The Latin term for sour. Acids are used to prevent fruit from oxidizing and are used in making meringue because they help strengthen the egg white proteins. Common food acids are found in vinegar, wine, lemon juice, sour milk, and apples.

aebleskiver – A small Danish doughnut made on the stovetop with a special pan called an aebleskiver pandle. The doughnut is made with a beer batter flavored with spices and citrus zest. The baked doughnut may have a slice of apple or jam inserted in the middle, or simply dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

afternoon tea – a traditional English light meal served in the afternoon. Afternoon tea normally consists of finger sandwiches, petit fours, scones, crumpets and muffins. Of course the meal is accompanied with tea, or sometimes wine.

airbrush – a small, air-operated tool used to spray edible color to decorate cakes and cookies.

air pump – a small tool used to blow air into cooked sugar, so the sugar can be formed into shapes. A ball of cooked sugar is placed over the long tapered nozzle of the pump, and then air is blown into the sugar by hand-squeezing an attached hand pump.

a la mode – A French term meaning “in the manner of” or “in the style of” which refers to the method of preparation. In the United States, a la mode normally refers to a slice of pie topped with a scoop of ice cream.

allumette – Thin strips of puff pastry that are baked, and then topped with a sweet filling or royal icing.

allspice – A spice used in baking, and primarily used in cookies, cakes, and pies. Allspice is the berry of the Pimenta dioica tree, primarily grown in the West Indies, Central America, and South America. The berries are sun-dried, turning them a reddish-brown color, with a flavor similar to cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice is also knows as “Jamaica pepper.”

almond – The seed of the fruit produced by an Almond tree primarily grown in California, Sicily, Asia, South Africa, and France. Sweet almonds are commonly used in baking and are available in several forms: whole, sliced, slivered, chopped, and blanched. Almonds are also used to make almond paste, and ground to make almond meal or flour. Bitter almonds have a stronger taste, and are used sparingly to flavor cookies, cakes, or pastries. See recipe for Raspberry Almond Cookies.

almond cream – A thick pastry cream that includes ground almonds and almond flavored liqueur.

almond extract – A concentrated flavoring made from sweet or bitter almond oil and alcohol. See recipe for Golden Almond Amaretti.

almond flour – Also known as Almond Meal. Almond flour is made from almonds that have been finely ground to a powder. Commercial almond flour may contain added sugar.

almond milk – A mixture of milk or water and marzipan. The mixture is heated until it is smooth, and is used in custards, cakes, and sauces.

almond paste – A combination of finely ground blanched almonds, confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup and sometimes egg whites. Because it is pliable, almond paste is often tinted with food coloring and formed into shapes such as animals, flowers, or fruit, and used to embellish baked items. Almond paste may also be used as an ingredient when baking, such as a pastry filling.

amaretti – Italian macaroon cookies, made from bitter almonds.

amarattini – A miniature version of amaretti cookies.

Amaretto – An Italian liqueur with an almond flavor.

ambassador cake – A French dessert consisting of a sponge cake flavored with Grand Marnier. The cake is filled with pastry cream and candied fruit, and then covered with a thin layer of marzipan.

ambrosia – An American southern dessert made with bananas, oranges and toasted coconut. Ambrosia may also include marshmallows and whipped cream. It is either served as a dessert or a salad.

angel food cake – A light and airy cake made with no fat, therefore is cholesterol free. It has a fluffy, delicate texture that almost melts in your mouth. Angel Food cake depends completely on the air that is beaten into the egg whites to provide the leavening agent, making the cake rise during baking. Angel Food Cake is baked in a tube pan to allow heat to reach the center of the cake so that it bakes evenly. The pan is ungreased, allowing the cake to raise high by clinging to the sides of the pan. Because of its delicate structure, the cake must be turned upside down immediately after baking so that the weight of the cake does not cause itself to collapse while cooling. See recipe for Angel Food Cake.

angel food cake pans – Angel Food Cake is baked in a tube shaped pan that is ungreased, allowing the cake to raise high by clinging to the sides of the pan, and then turned upside down after baking so the cake does not collapse while cooling. An Angel food cake pan should not be non-stick, allowing the cake to raise by clinging to the sides of the pan and almost doubling in size during baking; and it should include either “feet” that the pan sits on when turned upside down, or a tube that is wide enough to fit over the top of a glass bottle or wine bottle. A pan with a removable bottom makes removing the cooled cake from the pan, and clean-up easier. Shop for Angel Food cake pans.

angelica – An herb used in baking for flavoring and decoration. The flavor has a slightly bitter, musky taste, therefore is best used sparingly. Both the stems and leaves may be used. The stalks may be candied and used as a decoration for desserts. Angelica is native to Scandinavia and northern Europe.

anise seed – Commonly called anise, the anise seed is from an herb that is a member of the parsley family, primarily grown in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Mexico. Anise has a distinct licorice flavor, and is used as a flavoring in bread and cookies as well as liqueurs. Anisette and Ouzo are liqueurs flavored with anise.

Anjou Pear – A winter pear, available from October to late May, that has a thin, yellow-green skin and off-white, creamy-textured, sweet flesh. Anjou pears are a favorite pear used for baking as they hold their shape well.

apple – The fruit of an apple tree, apples are available year-round, but are best from September through March. There are over seven thousand varieties of apples grown throughout the world, varying from pale yellow to green, and yellowish-red to bright red in color, and from tart to sweet in flavor. Apples are a favorite fruit used in many baking recipes.

apple brown betty – A baked dessert made with sliced apples, spices, and sugar that is topped with a crumb topping. Apple brown betty originated in colonial America.

apple dumpling – a baked dessert made with a whole apple that has been peeled and cored and filled with sugar, butter, spices, and sometimes nuts. The apple is covered with pastry and baked with a rich syrup of sugar and spices. Apple dumplings are best served warm with heavy cream. See recipe for Apple Dumplings.

apricot – The fruit of an apricot tree, apricots are available in June and July. Apricots are round, golden-colored fruit, and are from the same family as peaches and plums. They are small, usually 1 to 2 inches in diameter, with an almond-shaped pit in the center.

apricot glaze – Apricot jam that is heated to make liquid, with water added if necessary to thin it a bit. The glaze is commonly brushed on cakes and pastries to provide shine or as a crumb coat, and to provide a longer shelf life.

arrowroot – A fine, white powder derived from the tropical arrowroot plant. The underground stems of the plant are dried, and then finely ground. Arrowroot is used as a thickener, often replacing cornstarch.

arroz con leche – A Spanish rich pudding normally flavored with cinnamon, lemon, and vanilla.

artisan bread – A high quality, hand-crafted bread containing no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Asian pear – Also known as Pear Apples and available August through January. These pears are a round fruit with a smooth skin, varying from pale green to a beige color. They are firm, crisp, and juicy with a mildly sweet flavor that is a cross between an apple and a pear.

avocado – A tropical fruit. The flesh has a creamy, buttery taste and is a pale yellow-green color. Each avocado has one large stone and a skin ranging in color from green to black. If the stone is removed undamaged, it can be grown into a nice houseplant.

baba – Also known as baba au rhum, this rich, yeast-risen cake is normally made with raisins and infused with rum or kirsch syrup after baking. Babas are baked as individual servings in tall cylinder shaped molds, and traditionally decorated with candied cherries and angelica. The same dough, without the raisins, is used to make a savarin which is baked in a shallow ring mold. Babas are thought to have originated in the seventeenth century in Lorraine, France; the polish King soaked the cakes in rum and named them after the legendary hero Ali Baba.

baba mold – Baba molds are tall straight-sided, cylindrical shaped molds about 1½ to 3 inches in diameter, and 1½ to 4 inches in height. They are specifically designed for the classic yeast-raised sweet cakes called Babas. These same molds can be used for individual parfaits, mousses, and ice cream desserts. Shop for baba molds.

babka – A Polish cake similar to baba, but made without yeast. Babkas may be sweet or savory. Sweet versions include chocolate, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and candied orange peel. Savory versions include cream cheese and pureed chicken livers. See recipe for Babka.

babovka – A cake originating from the Czech Republic that has alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla flavored batters, includes rum and nuts, and is baked in a tall round pan.

bagatelle – This is a French version of American strawberry shortcake. Bagatelle starts with a genoise cake split in half and filled with pastry cream and sweetened whipped cream and strawberries.

bain-marie – The French term for water bath. A water bath protects delicate desserts, such as custards and cheesecakes as they bake from curdling, cracking, and over-cooking, as the water provides insulation against high heat. The baking pan is set into a larger pan that holds a shallow amount of hot water.

bake – Cooking food in a heated oven, with dry heat. Most pastry items are baked uncovered.

Baked Alaska – This unique dessert begins with a liqueur-soaked sponge cake that is covered with a slab of hardened ice cream. The entire dessert is covered with meringue. The meringue, which is browned in the oven or with a kitchen torch just before serving, insulates the ice cream and keeps it from melting.

baker – A person who makes baked foods, such as breads, cakes, and cookies.

bakers dozen – 13 pieces. One dozen (12), plus one (13).

Baker’s Joy – A combination of vegetable oil and flour in a spray can, used as a substitute for greasing and flouring baking pans. Baker’s joy is normally available in kitchen stores, gourmet shops, and grocery stores. Shop for Baker’s Joy.

baker’s rack – a portable rack that holds several full and half-sheet pans.

bakery – a place where baked items are made and sold.

Bakewell tart – An English tart made with a puff pastry crust that is first brushed with jam, then filled with a mixture of eggs, butter, and sugar. After baking the tart is dusted with confectioner’s sugar or glazed with icing.

baking chocolate – Also known as unsweetened chocolate. Baking chocolate is pure chocolate liquor, pressed from cocoa beans during processing. Shop for unsweetened baking chocolate.

baking pans – Pans used to make baked items that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Baking pans may be round, square, rectangular, or novelty shapes. Baking pans normally have short, straight sides. Pans that have a light finish, such as aluminum, are best for baking cakes; they tend to produce a lighter, delicately crusted cake. Dark metal pans and glass pans absorb heat quickly, and tend to produce a crisper, darker crust. Non-stick pans are the least desirable as they are normally very dark and absorb too much heat which can result in the bottom and sides of the cake over baking before the middle is done. If using a dark metal or glass or non-stick pan you may want to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to help minimize the cake from becoming overly-dark before they are done. Jelly roll pans should be heavy duty so the pan doesn’t curl or warp in the oven from the heat.

baking powder – Baking powder is used as a leavener in baking. Baking powder is made up of 2 parts of a baking acid, such as cream of tartar, and 1 part baking soda, along with a small amount of cornstarch to absorb moisture and stabilize the mixture. There are 3 types of baking powder; single-acting which reacts when mixed with liquid, slow acting which reacts when heated, and double-acting which reacts with both liquid and heat. Double-acting is the most common type of baking powder found in the United States. Double-acting releases a small amount of carbon dioxide when moistened, and a greater amount of carbon dioxide when heated, causing gas bubbles which helps the baked item to rise.

Baking powder has both an acid and a base, creating a neutral taste. Therefore, recipes that call for baking powder require other neutral tasting ingredients, such as milk, or Dutch processed cocoa.

baking powder biscuit – a small, round quick bread leavened with baking powder.

baking and cookie sheets – Cookie sheets re rimless, flat metal sheets, perfectly designed for placing rows of cookies. They normally have a small rim on the short sides for easy gripping. The long flat edges allow you to slide cookies off the sheet after baking.

Baking sheets have raised edges all around, and are normally the choice for professional bakers. They are a good, all-purpose pan and can be used for everything from baking cookies to toasting nuts.

You normally want to have a set of 2 cookie sheets or 2 baking sheets, or both. When baking cookies, the second sheet can be waiting to go into the oven while the first one is baking.

If you’re buying new, invest in good quality, heavy duty cookie and baking sheets. Heavy duty baking sheets retain heat better, won’t warp or buckle when heated, and should last a lifetime.

Choose cookie and baking sheets made of shiny, light colored metals, such as heavy-duty aluminum. The light color encourages even baking and are less likely to burn. Dark metals sheets and nonstick tend to brown baked goods faster; you may need to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and reduce the baking time slightly.

Insulated pans have a layer of air trapped between the layers of metal, which help prevent cookies from burning. However, since these pans are poor heat conductors, cookies may not tend to bake and brown as well, and you may over bake the cookies waiting for them to brown. Shop for baking and cookie sheets.

baking cup – a fluted paper or foil cup used to line muffin pans when making muffins or cupcakes. Shop for baking cups.

baking soda – Baking soda is used as a leavener in baking. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient present in the batter , a chemical reaction occurs that produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures; causing the baked food items to rise. Batters that contain baking soda should be baked immediately after mixing because the baking soda starts reacting immediately when moistened.

Baking soda is used with other acidic ingredients, such as buttermilk, vinegar, citrus juice, sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, chocolate, cocoa (not Dutch-processed), honey, molasses, fruits and maple syrup.

baking stone – This is a large, flat stone that is placed on the bottom of the oven, or the bottom shelf if your oven has an electric element on the bottom. Baking stones are used to bake free-form bread loaves, flat breads, and pizza, and mimic the heat of a brick or stone oven. The baking stone creates a dry and crispy crust by drawing moisture away from the crust as it bakes. The stone should be the thickest you can find, at least ½ inch thick, to hold heat better, and needs to be preheated for up to 1 hour before baking. Shop for baking stones.

Baklava – A rich Greek dessert that consists of many layers of buttered phyllo pastry dough, chopped nuts, sugar, spices, and honey and lemon. Baklava is baked in a large rectangular baking pan, and scored into small triangle or diamond shapes before baking. See recipe for Baklava.

banana – The fruit of a banana tree that is grown in tropical climates world-wide. Bananas are long with a thick yellow or red skin, and an inner sweet fruit. Bananas are best picked green and ripened off the tree.

banana cream pie – A chilled pie made with a sweet custard and sliced bananas in a pre-baked pie shell. It is typically topped with sweetened whipped cream. See recipe for Banana Cream Pie.

bananas Foster – A flaming dessert made by splitting a banana lengthwise and sautéing it briefly in butter, sugar, spices, and rum. The banana is served with the sauce and normally vanilla ice cream. Bananas Foster originated in New Orleans and is prepared table-side.

banana split – An ice cream dessert common in ice cream parlors. The Banana split consists of a banana split in half lengthwise and placed between scoops of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream. The ice cream scoops are topped with chocolate, fruit, or butterscotch sauce, and then the dessert is finished with whipping cream, nuts, and a maraschino cherry.

Banbury Cake – This is a regional cake from Banbury, Oxfordshire, England. Banbury Cake consists of two layers of oval-shaped sweet pastry dough or puff pastry, with a filling of dried fruits and spices or mincemeat.

Banbury Tart- A variation of Banbury cake, but in the form of a tart. The tart uses a sweet pastry filled with a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs, lemon, raisins, and candied fruits.

bannetons and brotforms – European-style rustic breads are traditionally given their second rise in shaping baskets before being tuned out onto a baking stone to bake. The baskets are floured before the dough is added. A French banneton is a woven willow basket, lined with linen or canvas cloth. The cloth is dusted with flour to draw moisture from the dough as it rises, making the baked crust chewy. A German Brotform, made of wood, leaves circular marks on the dough, making an attractive loaf.

Baptist cake – A deep-fried doughnut-type cake. Baptist cake was popular in New England in the 1930’s.

bar cookie – Cookies that are baked in a square or rectangular baking pan, then after baking are cut into bars or squares.

Barbados sugar – Also known as Muscovado sugar, a dark brown sugar that is very moist and a strong molasses flavor.

bark – a chocolate candy made with nuts and sometimes dried fruits. The bark is made in a large batch, and then when the chocolate is cooled and hardened it is broken into smaller, irregularly shaped pieces. See recipe for Peppermint Bark.

barquette – a boat-shaped individual tartlet, made with a sweet pastry or puff pastry dough. The Barquette mold is 3 to 4 inches long and 1¾ inches across. Barquettes are normally blind baked then a sweet or savory filling is added after the shells cool.

baguette pan – A baguette pan has a long trough to hold the dough in shape, with perforations allow for even browning from top to bottom, creating that essential golden, crispy crust. Shop for Baguette Pans.

Bartlett pear – A summer pear, available from July to November, with a smooth yellow skin and creamy off-white flesh.

basboosa – A sweet Egyptian cake. The Basboosa cake batter is spread in a pan, scored into a diamond Patten, and a whole blanched almond is pressed into the center of each diamond. The cake is brushed with melted butter before baking, then sprinkled with a rose and lemon syrup after baking.

batch – One recipe of yeast, sweet and quick breads, or cookies.

bath bun – A sweet, yeast roll made with candied citrus peel and currants or golden raisins and normally toped with crushed sugar, more currants, and sometimes caraway seeds. Bath Buns originated in Bath, England in the mid-eighteenth century.

Battenberg Cake – A pink and white, or pink and yellow almond flavored butter or sponge cake stacked to form a checkerboard pattern. The cake is held together with apricot filling and then wrapped in marzipan. It is said that Battenberg Cake was created to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884, with each square possibly representing one of the four Battenberg princes; Louis, Alexander, Henry, and Francis Joseph. It has since become a classic and elegant English tea cake. See recipe for Battenberg Cake.

batter – A semi-liquid mixture of ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, eggs, and flavoring. Un-cooked batter may be thick or thin, and is either cooked or baked into pastry items such as cakes, pancakes, waffles, and muffins.

Baumkuchen – A German Christmas cake. Baumkuchen is not baked, but broiled on a rotating rod that turns over a hot grill. Thin layers of batter are brushed over the turning rod, as each layer sets another layer is brushed over it, producing many layers that make up the cake. Once several layers have been added, a long wooden comb is pressed into the sides to give the cake its characteristic screw-like indentations, like rings of a tree trunk. The cake is traditionally glazed with apricot, then spread with a chocolate or clear sugar icing.

Bavarian cream – light, creamy chilled custard with gelatin, whipped cream, and flavoring added. Bavarian cream made with chocolate, vanilla, or orange is popular, however it can also be made with fresh fruit purees. Bavarian Cream is either chilled in a mold to form a shape, or is used as a filling for cake or charlottes.

beat – To vigorously mix ingredients together, either by hand with a wooden spoon or wire whisk, or with an electric mixer. Beating makes batters smooth, and adds volume to egg whites and cream by incorporating air into them.

bee sting – A sweet yeast pastry filled with custard and topped with a chewy Florentine mixture of honey, butter, sugar and almonds.

beignet – Deep fried, yeast-risen pastry, similar to doughnuts, and heavily dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

bench scraper – Also called a board scraper, or dough scraper; this is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. Bench scrapers measure about 6 by 3 inches, have a straight edge, are normally marked with measurement markings, and have a plastic or wooden handle or curved edge for gripping.

Bench scrapers can be used for everything from cutting dough, to scraping flour or crumbs off a pastry board or counter, loosening dough from a work surface as you knead, scoring certain cookies such as shortbread, leveling a cup when measuring dry ingredients, transferring pastry or bread dough from one place to another, and transferring chopped nuts or chocolate from a cutting board into a bowl. My favorite tool to cut bar cookies is a stainless steel bench scraper; simply push the bench scraper straight down into the cookie for straight cuts. Shop for dough scrapers.

Benedictine – A sweet liqueur made at the Abbey of Decamp in Normandy, France, and named after the monks of the abbey who first made it in the sixteenth century. Benedictine is made with Cognac flavored with herbs, spices, and fruit peels.

benne wafer – A traditional thin and crisp Southern cookie that is made with brown sugar, pecans, and sesame seeds.

Betty – Normally called Brown Betty, with Apple Brown Betty being the most common. A Betty is a baked bread pudding with layers of buttered bread crumbs and fruit mixed with sugar and spices.

beveling – cutting off the sharp edge of a cake before icing to make a rounded edge. The cake edge should always be beveled before covering with rolled fondant so the fondant will not tear.

bialy – A large, round, flat, chewy, savory yeast roll. The bialy is made with a depression in the center that is often filled with onions before baking.

bienenstich – A German sweet yeast pastry filled with custard, and topped with honey, butter, and almonds.

birthday cake – A cake made to celebrate and mark the anniversary of a person’s birth. Butter and sponge cakes are traditionally the cake of choice, with a buttercream frosting. Small lit candles are placed on top of the cake for the birthday person to blow out after making a wish.

biscotti – A dry, crunchy, twice-baked Italian cookie. Biscotti dough is shaped into a loaf about 1 inch high and baked. Then the baked loaf is sliced diagonally about 1 inch thick and baked a second time until they are crisp and dry. Biscotti are traditionally dipped in a sweet dessert wine or espresso before eating. Traditional favorites are almond biscotti, and biscotti dipped in chocolate. See recipe for Cranberry Almond Biscotti.

biscuit cutters – A Biscuit cutter, either plain or fluted, will help produce high-rising biscuits as the biscuit cutter has a sharp edge to produce a clean cut; cutters that have a dull edge will compact the dough and the biscuits will not rise as well when baking. Round biscuit cutters are normally made of tin or stainless steel, ranging in size from 1½ to 3 inches in diameter. The cutter should be at least 1 inch deep to cut through the thickest biscuit dough. A biscuit cutter can also double as a cookie and scone cutter or to cut small cake rounds to frost for individual servings or petite fours. Shop for biscuit cutters.

bittersweet – Generally describes chocolate which has a very small amount of sugar added, producing a combination bitter and sweet flavor. Bittersweet chocolate is often used in baking. Bittersweet chocolate contains approximately 70% chocolate liquor and 30% sugar. Shop for bittersweet chocolate.

blackberry – The fruit of a blackberry bush. Blackberries are a purplish-black berry that grows wild from May to September. Blackberries are used in many desserts such as pies, tarts, and cobblers, as well as dessert sauces, jams and jellies.

black bottom pie – A chilled custard pie with a layer of dark chocolate custard on the bottom, a layer of rum or vanilla custard flavor on top, followed by a layer of sweetened whipped cream, and garnished with chocolate shavings.

Black Forest cherry torte – A cake made with layers of genoise that are soaked with a kirshwasser, a cherry flavored brandy, and filled with sweetened whipped cream and cherries. This is a traditional cake from the Black Forest of Germany. See recipe for Black Forest Cherry Torte.

blanch – To remove the outer skins of fruit or nuts. Blanching is normally done by placing the fruit, such as peaches, or nuts in hot or boiling water for about 1 minute, then immediately put in cold water to stop the cooking process. The skins are then easily removed.

blancmange – Custard made with milk, sugar, and vanilla, and thickened with cornstarch. It is normally served chilled with fresh fruit or a fruit sauce in individual dishes.

blend – Mixing two or more ingredients together so they do not separate.

blender – A blender is a great tool for pureeing fruits and vegetables, mixing bar drinks and smoothies, chopping ice, making dips, and chopping small amounts of nuts. Blenders will chop, mix, whip, and blend almost anything.

blind bake – This is a technique for baking an unfilled pastry shell. The unbaked pie shell is lightly pricked all over with a fork to keep the pastry from puffing up while it bakes, and then chilled to help keep the pastry from shrinking. Before baking the shell is lined with parchment paper or foil and filled with ceramic pie weights, dry rice, or dry beans, and then baked about 15 minutes until the pastry is set. Carefully remove the paper and pie weights or beans and cool on a wire rack (for a partially baked crust) or continue to bake another 5 to 6 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown (for a fully baked crust,) depending on the recipe.

blintz – A thin, tender pancake, originating in Eastern European countries of Germany, Israel, Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine. The Blintz is fried on one side, and then usually filled with a fruit, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, or meat filling. It is then folded into a square shape to enclose the filling, sautéed or baked, and served with sour cream.

blondie – A bar cookie, similar to a chocolate brownie, but flavored instead with butterscotch and vanilla. See recipe for Blondies.

blood orange – An orange with a dark red pulp and juice. Blood oranges have a sweet-tart citrus flavor with hints of raspberry, and normally available from December to June.

bloom – A white coating that appears on chocolate and is caused by separated cocoa butter.

blown sugar – pulled sugar that is blown into decorative shapes using an air pump.

blow torch – In the baking kitchen, a blow torch is a small, butane powered, hand-held torch, used to caramelize sugar, such as when making crème brulee or meringues.

blueberry – The fruit of a blueberry bush. Blueberries are a small, round, juicy, purplish-blue berry. Blueberries are used in many desserts such as muffins, quick breads, cakes, pies, tarts, and cobblers, as well as dessert sauces, jams and jellies.

boil – To heat liquid ingredients until they reach the boiling point of over 212 degrees F, and bubbles are breaking on the surface.

boiled icing – A sugar and egg white icing for cakes. Sugar is first cooked on the stovetop to form syrup, and then the hot syrup is beaten into whipped egg whites. As the mixture is beaten it becomes smooth, fluffy, and glossy.

bombe – A frozen dessert, created in a round mold. The outside layer is ice cream or sorbet that is first frozen solid. The center is then filled with a cooked mixture of sugar, egg yolks, and whipping cream, and then the entire dessert is frozen. After unmolding, the Bombe is decorated with candied fruits, nuts, or chocolate.

bonbon – A small confection, such as chocolate covered cherries, or fondant rolled into small balls and dipped in a thin fondant covering. See recipe for Bonbons.

Bosc pear – A winter pear, available from October to May that has a mottled russet-colored skin and juicy white sweet flesh. Anjou pears are a favorite pear used for baking and poaching as they hold their shape well.

Boston cream pie – A traditional American cake made with two layers of sponge cake with a thick rich vanilla pastry cream filling and topped with a chocolate glaze. See recipe for Boston Cream Pie.

boysenberry – This berry is a cross between a blackberry, raspberry, and loganberry. Boysenberries look like a large blackberry and have a deep purplish-red color, with a sweet taste. Boysenberries are used in many desserts such as pies, tarts, and cobblers, as well as dessert sauces, jams and jellies.

brandy snap – A thin, crisp cookie flavored with molasses, brandy, and spices. The cookie is wrapped around a dowel or handle of a wooden spoon to form a cone shape immediately after it is baked and still warm, and the cone shape is filled with whipped cream or Buttercream. See recipe for Brandy Snaps.

bread machine – If the old fashioned method of mixing, kneading, and rising yeast breads doesn’t suit you, then a bread machine is good to have. Just add the ingredients, close the lid, turn it on, and in 3 or 4 hours have a perfectly baked loaf of hot homemade bread. Shop for bread machines.

bread pudding – An English dessert made with bread slices or bread cubes. Vanilla custard and raisins or other dried fruits are poured over the bread, baked to a golden brown color. The pudding is served warm or cold, dusted with confectioner’s sugar or served with a dessert sauce or whipped cream.

breton – almond flavored iced cookies that are stacked into a tower shape, and used as a table decoration

brigade – The organization of kitchen staff. In a pastry kitchen, the positions are the following:

Boulanger:  The person responsible for all of the bread products.

Chef de patisserie:  The executive pastry chef who is responsible for all of the products and cooks in his or her department.

Chocolatier: The person responsible for all the chocolate products.

Commis:  The pastry apprentice.

Confiseur:  The person responsible for confectionery items, including fondants, sugar mixtures, syrups, decorative marzipan, and centerpieces made from chocolate, sugar, and pastillage.

Glacier:  The person responsible for all frozen desserts including sorbets, ice creams, bombes, parfaits, and ice carvings.

Pastry chef:  The person responsible for the production of all pastry and desserts in a kitchen, as well as managing the pastry kitchen and its staff.

Patissier: A pastry cook

Sous Chef: This person is the second in command who takes over the executive pastry chef’s responsibilities in his or her absence.

Tourier :  The person responsible for all of the dough production, including baking the dough.

brioche – A light, tender, French yeast bread enriched with eggs and butter, and traditionally baked in a brioche mold with a large ball of dough on the bottom and a smaller ball of dough on top.

brioche pan – A brioche mold is a deep, beautifully fluted round mold, made of tinned steel. They are specifically made for baking the traditional French knot-shaped brioche loaf. A small brioche mold can also be used for baking small cakes, muffins, and individual sweet breads. A large brioche mold can be used for larger cakes and sweet breads. Shop for brioche molds.

brittle – Candy made with caramelized sugar and nuts that is poured onto a flat marble surface to cool. Once the candy is hardened and cooled, it is broken into smaller irregular pieces. Peanut brittle is a common brittle; however other nuts may be used. See recipe for Peanut Brittle.

brown Betty – See Betty

brownie – A classic American chocolate bar cookie, but is a cross between a cake and a cookie. Brownies are normally dense with either a moist cake-like texture or a chewy fudge-like texture. Brownies are made with chocolate and may be made with or without nuts. See recipe for Deluxe Frosted Brownies.

buche de Noel – A traditional French Christmas cake made in the shape of a log. The cake is normally made from a sponge cake, and filled with a whipped cream or buttercream filling. The outside is covered with a frosting and decorated to look like a Yule log. Meringue mushrooms, marzipan holly and berries, and sugared or chocolate covered leaves are used to adorn the log.

buckle – An old-fashioned American deep-dish fruit dessert. A rich cake batter is spread over the bottom of a pan, and topped with sweetened sliced fruit. As the buckle bakes the cake rises up and surrounds the fruit slices. Buckles are normally served warm with heavy cream or ice cream.

Bundt pan – Bundt is pronounced “bunt” with the “d” being silent. A Bundt cake is baked in a special pan called a Bundt pan, a ring shaped pan with fluted sided, originally created to prepare German Kugelhopf cake. National Bundt Pan Day is November 15th. The modern Bundt pan was developed by the Nordic Ware company in 1950, and its fame rose after a Pillsbury-sponsored baking contest in 1966. The 9 x 4½ inch Nordic Ware Bundt Pan is my favorite, and can be used for many cake recipes. Shop for Bundt pans.

butter – Pasteurized cream that is churned until it forms a solid mass. Butter is a main ingredient used in many baked items, providing moistness, tenderness, flakiness, volume, and flavor. Butter is normally sold salted and unsalted. Unsalted butter is recommended for baking because the amount of salt added in salted butter can vary from 1.5% to 2.5%. With unsalted butter you can control the amount of salt used in the baked product.

buttercream – A creamy and fluffy frosting made from butter, sugar and flavoring. In addition, whole eggs, egg whites, or egg yolks may be added. Buttercream is used both as an icing or frosting and can also be used as a filling. See recipes for Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Classic French Buttercream.

butterfly cake – A cake or cupcake with the top cut off, then placed back on top to resemble butterfly wings. See recipe for Strawberry Butterfly Cupcakes.

butterscotch – a flavor made with a cooked combination of butter and brown sugar. Butterscotch is also a hard candy.

butter tart – this is Canada’s national dessert. A butter tart is a baked sweet pastry dough filled with raisins and a sweet cream filling made from butter, brown sugar, and vanilla.

cake – A sweet baked dessert often made with basic ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. There are numerous varieties of cakes, but there are two basic cake categories, butter cakes and foam cakes. See Cake recipes.

cake comb – A cake comb is a fun tool to use to make thin, parallel lines around the outside edge of a layer cake for a professional finish. After the cake is frosted, the comb is placed against the side of the cake, and then the cake is turned, or spun around on a cake turntable to make the lines all around. A kitchen fork or serrated knife can do the same job. Shop for cake combs.

cake leveler – A cake leveler is used to slice cakes into even, horizontal layers. It is a wide, low, U-shaped metal frame that sits on plastic feet, and a thin, sharp serrated cutting blade sits horizontally between the sides of the frame. The height of the blade is adjustable so that cakes of different heights can be cut. The cake is pushed against the cutting blade to cut the layers. Shop for cake levelers.

cake lifter – A metal or plastic disc 9 inches or more in diameter, with a handle, and is used to lift and move cake layers for icing and assembly. Shop for cake lifters.

cake rounds – Also called cake circles. These are inexpensive corrugated paper rounds for frosting and decorating cakes or transporting cakes from one location to another. After frosting a cake, and to avoid damaging the sides, slip the tip of a paring knife under the cardboard, lift the cake slightly at an angle, and slip your hand underneath to finish lifting it. The finished cake can then be placed on a serving plate. Cardboards cake rounds are also useful for bringing cakes and other pastries to parties, since you don’t have to worry about retrieving your serving platter. Shop for cardboard cake rounds.

cake spreader – Also called an angel food cake cutter, this tool looks like a long-handled hair comb, made with thin, long, evenly spaced teeth made of metal. When it is lowered into an angel food cake like a knife, it severs each piece from the whole cake without crushing the delicate crumb. Shop for Angel Food cake cutters.

cake strips – Cake strips are heat-resistant metallic fabric strips that is moistened, then wrapped around the outsides of a round cake pan before the cake is baked. They insulate the pan, keeping the edges of the cake pan from heating more rapidly than the center, to produce a more evenly baked, level cake. The strips come in several lengths and are reusable. Shop for cake strips.

cake tester – A cake tester is a fun little tool to have if you bake lots of cakes, made of thin metal and a decorative top, and used to pierce a baked cake to test for doneness. Of course the age-old substitute for testing the doneness of cakes is a long toothpick, or long wooden skewer. In a pinch, you can still use the method of olden days and pull a straw out of the kitchen broom to test your cake (but don’t use this unless you’ve cleaned it first.) Shop for cake testers.

cake turntable – A cake turntable, also known as a cake stand, makes frosting a cake, or more elaborate cake decorating easier. A cake turntable is like a lazy Susan; it should sit on a small pedestal and turn easily without wobbling. Shop for cake turntables.

candied fruit – Fruit or fruit peel that is preserved by cooking in sugar syrup. After cooking the fruit is normally dried and coated with granulated sugar. See recipe for Candied Lemon Peel.

candy thermometer – A candy thermometer is very useful for cooking sugar syrups and caramels. A candy thermometer has a mercury bulb with a long glass column. It is normally clipped to the inside of the pan, directly in the syrup but not touching the bottom of the pan, allowing you to watch as the syrup heats to the correct temperature. Shop for candy thermometers.

cannoli – An Italian dessert made with a deep fried sweet pastry formed in the shape of a horn that is filled with a mixture of sweetened whipped ricotta cheese, candied citrus peel, and chocolate pieces. Each end is dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachios.

caramel cage – Warm caramel is drizzled over an oiled bowl in a random or criss cross pattern. When cooled and hardened the caramel is gently lifted off the bowl and placed over a dessert or cake, making an impressive presentation.

caramelize – To heat sugar, usually in a saucepan or skillet, until the sugar turns a golden brown. See recipe for Caramel Sticks. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

carrot cake – A popular American cake that is very moist and normally frosted with cream cheese frosting. Oil is normally used in place of butter when making the cake batter, along with grated carrots, raisins, nuts, and spices. See recipe for Carrot Cake.

ceramic baking dish – Ceramic dishes come is round, oval, and rectangular shapes, and a variety of colors. They are perfect for baking crustless fruit desserts such as fruit crisps, cobblers, crumbles, and bread puddings, allowing your dessert to go from the oven to your table. Shop for ceramic baking dishes.

challah – Traditional Jewish bread served on the Sabbath, holidays, and special occasions. Challah is rich yeast bread made with a lot of eggs to give the bread a rich flavor and color. The dough is braided into 1 2 distinct sections to represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

Charlotte – A Charlotte is made by lining a mold with a biscuit or sponge-type cake, then filling the mold with a Bavarian or whipped cream mixture, a fruit mixture, a mousse, or sometimes a gelatin mixture. A Charlotte Royale is made with multi-layers of sponge cake and jam. Charlotte Russe is surrounded by ladyfingers. A Charlotte should be made at least 4 hours in advance, and is served chilled. There are a number of decorative molds available in kitchen stores, but a springform pan with a removable bottom may also be used. See recipe for Raspberry Charlotte.

Charlotte mold – A classic French Charlotte mold is a round, tinned steel mold shaped like a straight-sided bucket, and a handle on each side. Shop for Charlotte Molds.

A Charlotte is lined with ladyfingers, Madeleines, cake, or occasionally bread, and then filled with mousse, custard, cream, or fruit.

cheesecake – Cheesecake is a rich, creamy, smooth, and dense chilled dessert, generally made with a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, eggs, cream, and flavorings. Cheesecakes are normally baked in a springform pan, in a water or steam bath to keep the cake creamy, and unmolded before serving, Cheesecakes are made with a pastry, cookie, or graham cracker type crust, but can also be baked without a crust. Classic cheesecake is a delicious creamy vanilla flavor with the added tartness of lemon and sour cream, such as found in New York Cheesecake and served plain or with a topping of whipped cream and berries. There are unlimited cheesecake flavor possibilities ranging anywhere from chocolate, coffee, lemon, berry to fruit. See Cheesecake recipes.

cheesecloth – Cheesecloth is light cotton gauze, normally used to separate ingredients from the rest of the mixture. For example, use cheesecloth to bundle small whole spices together while poaching fruit or making spiced apple cider, or bundle small amounts of confectioner’s sugar into cheesecloth to sprinkle over baked goods. Cheesecloth is also perfect for wrapping and soaking fruitcakes with liqueur to put aside for aging. Shop for cheesecloth.

Chelsea bun – Yeast buns made with dried fruit and spices, and glazed with jelly. The buns are made in small buns, baked together in a round pan, and served warm with butter and jam. See recipe for Chelsea Ring.

cherry cordial – Also called chocolate covered cherries. A dark sweet, pitted cherry is wrapped in fondant, and then coated with dark chocolate. As the cherries age, the sugar fondant combines with the moisture is the cherry and creates a sweet liquid center. When you bite into it the sweet mixture oozes out.

cherries jubilee – A flambéed dessert made with dark pitted cherries that are in thickened sweet syrup. Just before serving Kirsch liqueur is added to the cherries and flamed, then the cherries are served over vanilla ice cream.

cherry pitter – A cherry pitter easily extracts the pits from fresh cherries, indispensable when fresh cherries are in season. Cherry pitters are normally available in stainless steel, aluminum or plastic, with a spring-loaded pitting mechanism. Simply place a cherry in the little metal cup and depress the plunger, pushing the pit out and leaving the fruit whole. A cherry pitter can also be used to pit olives. Shop for cherry pitters.

chess pie – A Southern pie with a rich filling of sugar, eggs, butter, and a small amount of flour. The pie may be sweetened with molasses, brown sugar, or granulated sugar and flavored with vanilla, lemon, pineapple, or bourbon.

chestnut cream – A sweet cream made with a mixture of cooked pureed chestnuts and Buttercream.

chiffon cake – A tender, moist, and rich tasting cake made with vegetable oil, along with eggs, flour, sugar and flavoring and is lovely served with fresh fruit or covered with a creamy frosting. The stiffly beaten egg whites along with baking soda or baking powder provide the leavening agent. Chiffon cakes are typically baked in a tube pan; however other shaped pans may be substituted, such as a heart shaped pan. See recipe for Walnut Chiffon Cake.

chiffon pie – A pie with a light, fluffy filling made by folding either whipped cream or stiffly beaten egg whites into a egg yolk custard. See recipe for Chocolate Chiffon Pie.

chill – To cool food to less than room temperature. For example place cookie dough in the refrigerator so it becomes cold and firm.

chocolate – See Chocolate Types, Melting Chocolate, Tempering Chocolate.

chocolate plastic– A pliable decorating paste made from a mixture of chocolate and corn syrup. It is used to make decorations such as flowers and leaves to use for decorating cakes and confections.

chop – To cut food into small pieces that are usually between ¼ inch and ½ inch.

choux pastry – The French term is pâte à choux. Classic pastry dough that is first cooked in a pan on the stove top then baked in the oven. The pastry is made with water or milk, butter, and flour that are cooked together then slightly cooled. Eggs are then beaten in to create a pastelike dough. The dough is piped with a pastry bag to form various shapes, and then baked. After the shapes are baked and cooled they are normally filled with sweetened whipped cream or pastry cream. Choux pastry is used to make classic pastries such as cream puffs, croquembouche, éclairs, and profiteroles. See recipe for Pâte à choux

churro – A Mexican deep fried pastry flavored with cinnamon. Churros are piped with a pastry bag into long twisted strands that are deep fried, and then rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

citrus juicer – There are many different types of juicers available, but my favorite is an old-fashioned glass reamer. It’s easy to use and easy to clean, and makes quick work of juicing a lemon or orange. If you like making large amounts of juice, an electric juicer is a good investment. Shop for citrus juicers.

citrus zester – Citrus zesters are stainless steel strips with tiny razor-sharp edged holes. When you scrape a whole orange or lemon across the zester it removes the colored and flavorful part of the fruit (the zest), without including the bitter white pith underneath. This tool can also be used to finely grate chocolate, hard cheeses, whole nutmeg, and fresh ginger. Shop for citrus zesters.

clafouti – A rustic fruit dessert traditionally made with dark, sweet, unpitted cherries, but almost any fruit can be used. A thin cake batter is poured over the fruit, and as it bakes the batter puffs up around the fruit. Clafouti is dusted with confectioners’ sugar and best served warm. See recipe for Cherry Clafouti.

clotted cream – Also called Devonshire cream. Clotted cream is made by slowly heating cream or unpasteurized whole milk. While heating the cream rises to the surface, then when cooled is removed. Clotted cream is traditionally served with scones.

cobbler – A deep dish fruit dessert with a biscuit dough baked on top of the fruit. The dough is normally dropped on top of the fruit in small mounds and sprinkled with sugar before baking, resulting in a cobblestone look. Cobbler is best served warm with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream. See recipe for Mincey Pear Cobbler.

coconut haystack – Also called haystack. Haystacks are made with beaten egg whites, sugar, and coconut. Small amounts of the mixture are formed into a haystack shape then baked. The bottoms may be dipped in chocolate with a chocolate drizzle on top.

coffee cake – A coffee cake does not necessarily contain coffee, but are typically flavored with cinnamon, apple, nuts, and fruits. Coffee cakes are simple, yet rich and delicious, perfect for family dinners or when friends drop by. Most coffee cakes have a crumb or streusel topping made with variations of sugar, nuts, spices, butter, flour and oats. See recipe for Streusel Coffee Cake.

combine – To mix two or more ingredients together.

compote – Fresh or dried fruit cooked in sugar syrup flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, and orange or lemon zest. Compote may be served warm with sweetened whipping cream or chilled and sprinkled with kirsch or brandy.

confection – Small bite-size sweets, such as chocolates and candies.

cookie – A cookie is like a small cake, sometimes referred to as a biscuit. Cookies are normally sweet, and come in a variety of textures from crisp to soft to chewy. Most cookies have similar ingredients including flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, along with flavorings and unlimited add-ins such as chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, coconut, oatmeal, and raisins. Most cookies are baked, however some are unbaked, some are fried, and some are topped with frosting or Royal Icing. Even with the hundreds or even thousands of recipes to choose from, most cookies fall into five general categories; bar cookies, drop cookies, shaped, molded, or pressed Cookies, refrigerator (or Icebox) cookies, and rolled (or cutout) cookies. See Cookie recipes.

cookie and baking sheets – Cookie sheets re rimless, flat metal sheets, perfectly designed for placing rows of cookies. They normally have a small rim on the short sides for easy gripping. The long flat edges allow you to slide cookies off the sheet after baking.

Baking sheets have raised edges all around, and are normally the choice for professional bakers. They are a good, all-purpose pan and can be used for everything from baking cookies to toasting nuts.

You normally want to have a set of 2 cookie sheets or 2 baking sheets, or both. When baking cookies, the second sheet can be waiting to go into the oven while the first one is baking.

If you’re buying new, invest in good quality, heavy duty cookie and baking sheets. Heavy duty baking sheets retain heat better, won’t warp or buckle when heated, and should last a lifetime.

Choose cookie and baking sheets made of shiny, light colored metals, such as heavy-duty aluminum. The light color encourages even baking and are less likely to burn. Dark metals sheets and nonstick tend to brown baked goods faster; you may need to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and reduce the baking time slightly.

Insulated pans have a layer of air trapped between the layers of metal, which help prevent cookies from burning. However, since these pans are poor heat conductors, cookies may not tend to bake and brown as well, and you may over bake the cookies waiting for them to brown. Shop for cookie and baking sheets.

cookie cutters – Cutting sugar cookies with a beautifully shaped cookie cutter is a tradition in many families, especially during holidays. There are hundreds of cookie cutter shapes available ranging from Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day shapes, along with alphabets, animals, stars, and flowers. Whatever shape cookie you want to create, there is most likely a cookie cutter shape available. Most cookie cutters are made of tin, plastic, copper, or aluminum. Most work well, however the more flimsy ones will easily be bent out of shape. Purchase ones that seem sturdy, have a sharp cutting edge, and are at least ½ inch deep. The most beautiful, and typically the most expensive cutters are made from copper, and along with being quality cutters they are beautiful to display in your kitchen. Shop for cookie cutters.

cookie molds – Many traditional European cookies, such as Scottish shortbread, and German Springerle cookies, are made with a cookie mold. Most cookie molds are made of wood or stoneware with a raised design. The cookie dough is pressed into the mold to acquire the design, and then baked. Depending on the mold the cookie may be baked directly in the mold, or turned out of the mold before baking. Shop for cookie molds.

cookie press – A cookie press is used to extrude cookies into various shapes. The cookie dough is loaded into the hollow tube of the press, and then the plunger is used to press the dough out through a decorative plate fitted into the end. Spritz cookies are a traditional cookie that uses a cookie press. An alternative to a cookie press is to use a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Shop for cookie presses.

cookie scoop (ice cream scoop) – A cookie scoop (ice cream scoop) is ideal for making uniform-sized cookies. It gives you the ability to quickly scoop up the dough and deposit the dough on the cookie sheet. Purchase scoops that are easy to squeeze to keep your hand and wrist from tiring. If the dough sticks to the scoop, you can spray with a nonstick baking spray. Shop for cookie and ice cream scoops.

cookie stamps – Cookie stamps are often made of terra-cotta, and are used to stamp designs into the top of shortbread-type cookies. The dough is normally rolled into a ball, and then flattened with the stamp, creating an impression in the cookie which remains after the cookie is baked. Shop for cookie stamps.

cool – To bring hot or warm food to an average normal room temperature, around 68 to 70 degrees F, or until it no longer feels warm to the touch.

cooling rack – Wire cooling racks are a necessity for setting just-out-of-the-oven hot baking pans to cool. Hot pans placed on a flat surface can cause the baked item to become soggy, due to condensation that forms under the pan. Cooling racks are also helpful to use when drizzling icing or chocolate on top of cookies, cakes, or pastries as the icing drips thru the rack instead of forming a puddle.

Cooling racks are sold in various sizes, including round, square, and rectangular shapes. They should have feet of at least ½ inch that raise them above the counter for good air circulation. Have at least one rack that is large enough to hold several batches of cookies. Shop for cooling racks.

core – Removing the inner seed area of a fruit, such as an apple or pear.

couche – Artisan bread bakers use a canvas cloth, called a couche, to create crusty baguettes. Place shaped baguettes in the folds of the floured cloth; when raised, roll them onto a peel, then off the peel onto your hot baking stone.

coulis – A thick sauce of pureed raw or cooked fruit that is used as a sauce to accompany desserts, ice cream, or pastries.

cream – Vigorously mixing ingredients together, either by hand with a wooden spoon or wire whisk, or with an electric mixer. For example a recipe’s directions may say to beat or cream butter and sugar together to make smooth and fluffy.

cream bun – A sweetened bun made with sweetened dough and dried fruit. After baking, the bun is split open and filled with jam and sweetened whipped cream and then dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

cream cheese frosting – A sweet creamy frosting made with cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar. This is a traditional frosting for carrot cake. See recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting.

cream puff – Individual sized pastry made from choux pastry dough that is split open and filled with sweetened whipped cream or custard such as crème Chantilly or crème patisserie. Miniature cream puffs are used to make profiteroles. See recipe for pâte à choux.

cream horn – A French dessert made with a baked puff pastry formed into a cone shape, and filled with crème Chantilly.

crème anglaise – A rich, pourable cooked custard sauce served warm or cold with cakes, desserts, and fruit. It is made with milk, sugar, egg yolks, and various flavorings such as vanilla, raspberry, lemon, orange, coffee, and caramel.

crème brulee – creamy custard served cold in individual ramekins. The custard is made with cream, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla that is cooked and then chilled. Just before serving the custard is sprinkled with granulated sugar and placed under a broiler to caramelize the sugar, creating a brittle topping over the creamy custard.

crème caramel – An egg custard that is baked in the oven in a water bath. The dish or mold is first lined with caramel, and then filled with the custard sauce. After baking the custard is chilled then turned out of the mold so the caramel is on top forming a topping and a sauce for the custard.

crème Chantilly – Whipped cream that is sweetened with confectioners’ sugar and flavored with vanilla.

crème diplomat – A sweet cream that is equal parts pastry cream and whipped cream flavored, and with vanilla.

crème fraiche – A thick tangy cream with a slightly sour taste. Heavy cream is combined with buttermilk or sour cream, placed in a covered container, and left for 12 to 24 hours to thicken.

crepe – A very thin pancake that is normally filled with a sweet or savory filling, then the pancake is folded to enclose the filling. The crepe may be served as is or with a sauce or even flamed.

crepe Suzette – A French dessert made with crepes placed in a chafing dish along with a sauce of sugar, butter, orange and lemon juice and zest, rum or brandy, and flamed with orange liqueur.

crimp – Pressing pastry edges together so the edges are sealed. Crimping is usually done with your fingers or a fork.

croissant – A rich buttery flaky yeast roll made in a crescent shape.

croquembouche – A French dessert of miniature cream puffs, called profiteroles, which are stacked in a tall pyramid. The profiteroles are first dipped in caramel so they will stick together when stacked, and then the pyramid is often decorated with spun sugar.

cube – Cutting food into small square pieces, usually between ½ inch and 1 inch.

cupcake – Sometimes called “fairy cakes,” these small cakes are made to serve one person. Almost any butter cake recipe can be used to bake cupcakes. Before the modern cupcake pans were developed, small cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, leading to the popular term “cupcake.” Today’s modern baker has the advantage of using a muffin or cupcake pan with or without a paper liner, or even the more recent innovation of silicone baking cups. See Cupcake recipes.

cupcake and muffin pans – Muffin pans are a rectangular metal baking pan with six or twelve cup, used to bake both muffins and cupcakes. Muffin pan sizes are typically mini, standard, and jumbo sized. Each cup is normally lined with paper baking cups, and then filled with muffin or cake batter. Muffin pans can also be used to bake dinner rolls or individual brownies.

A standard muffin pan has 12 cups, each measuring about 2¾ inches at the top and 1-3/8 inches deep. Mini muffin pans normally have either 12 or 24 cups and measure about 1¾ inch across the top and ¾ inch deep. Jumbo muffin pans normally have 6 cups, and measure 3-3/8 inches across the top and 1¾ inches deep.

Muffin pans are traditionally made of metal; most common are aluminum pans; however flexible silicone pans are now available. Shop for cupcake and muffin pans.

curd – A thick creamy cooked pastry filling made with citrus juice, such as lemon or orange, sugar, butter, and egg yolks. Curd is used as a filling for pies, tarts, pastries, and cakes. Probably the most common curd is lemon curd. See recipe for Lemon Curd.

custard cup – These are 6 ounce cups for baking custards. Their small size are also good for holding cooked puddings or other desserts, and are also useful for holding pre-measured ingredients when prepping ingredients for cookies or cakes. Shop for custard cups.

cut-in – To reduce and evenly distribute butter or shortening into small pieces when combining with flour to make pastry. This is usually done with a pastry blender or two knives.

dacquoise – A light, crispy nut meringue, made with no flour, and is baked slowly until crisp and dry. The meringue is usually piped in discs, and sandwiched together with whipped cream, mousse, or Buttercream fillings. Dacquoise is normally made with ground almonds or hazelnuts to provide a delicious nutty flavor.

Danish – A breakfast pastry made with a rich sweet dough and filled with fruit, cheese, jam, or nuts, and often brushed with an apricot jam glaze.

dash – A very small amount of an ingredient, usually salt or other spices. This is a measurement that does not use a measuring spoon, therefore is not accurate or consistent, and is less than 1/8 teaspoon. For example, a couple shakes of a salt shaker.

decorating stencils – Stencils are flat, round pieces of plastic, about 9 inches in diameter. Designs, such as hearts and flowers are cut out of the center of the stencil. The stencil is placed over the top of a cake, confectioner’s sugar or cocoa is dusted over the top, and then the stencil is removed leaving a beautiful design on the cake. Shop for decorating stencils.

decorating tip – Also called pastry tips, are available in a huge array of designs and sizes. They are made of stainless steel or chrome-plated, and placed in the small end of the pastry bag. When the icing is pushed through it forms the design of the tip. Use a coupler (a plastic ring) when you want to change to different tips using the same icing without first having to empty and clean the pastry bag. Pastry tips should be washed in warm, soapy water and dried completely before storing. Shop for decorating tips.

depression cake – A cake popular during the Great Depression made with easy to find ingredients such as shortening instead of butter and brown sugar and water instead of milk and eggs.

Desdemona – Two ladyfingers sandwiched together with vanilla flavored whipping cream, brushed with apricot glaze, and covered with kirsch flavored white fondant. The cake is named for the wife of Othello in Shakespeare’s Othello.

dessert – Dessert is a general term for something normally served at the end of a meal, it can be hot or cold, and includes any number of sweet things such as cakes, pies, ice cream, cookies, pudding, fruits, and soufflés.

devil’s food cake – A rich chocolate cake that is moister and airier than other chocolate cakes and often uses cocoa for the chocolate flavor. Devil’s food cake incorporates butter, eggs, flour, and is made using hot or boiling water as the cake’s main liquid instead of milk. This cake is usually baked in layers and filled and frosted with a rich chocolate frosting. See recipe for Devil’s Food Cake.

Devonshire cream – Also called clotted Cream. Clotted cream is made by slowly heating cream or unpasteurized whole milk. While heating the cream rises to the surface, then when cooled is removed. Clotted cream is traditionally served with scones and fresh fruit.

dice – Cutting food into small pieces, usually between 1/8 inch and ¼ inch pieces.

dipping tool – small thin tools that resemble long pronged and spiraled forks and are used to hold fruit, candy, nuts, and petit fours while dipping them into melted chocolate or other coatings. Shop for dipping tools.

dissolve – To combine a solid food with a liquid, until the solid food is absorbed. For example, combine sugar and water.

divinity – A confection made with a cooked sugar and corn syrup mixture poured over whipped egg whites. The mixture is beaten until cooled and firm then dropped in mounds on wax paper to cool. See recipe for Divinity.

Dobos torte – A cake invented by Jozsef Dobos, a Hungarian chef, made with seven thin layers of chocolate genoise or sponge cake that are filled and frosted with chocolate or coffee buttercream. The cake is topped with a caramel glaze marked into serving pieces. See recipe for Dobos Torte.

docker – A spiked roller used to pierce holed in dough before baking to eliminate air bubbles and allow steam to escape. Docking can also be done by poking holes in the pastry with a fork.

dolce – The Italian word for sweets, including confections, pastries, desserts, and cakes.

dot – Placing small amounts of an ingredient evenly over the top of another food. For example, place small pieces of butter on top of a pie filling before baking.

double boiler – A double boiler is a set of two pans nested together, with enough room in the bottom pan for 1 or 2 inches of water. Double boilers are used to cook or heat foods that need gentle heat, such as melting chocolate. The water in the bottom pan is brought to a simmer, and the second pan is set on top. Shop for double boilers.

double in size – Refers to yeast dough that has risen to about twice the bulk of the original size.

dough – A pre-baked soft or firm mixture of ingredients such as butter, sugar, eggs, and flavoring. For example yeast bread dough may be firm and elastic or cookie dough may be soft and lumpy.

dough scraper – Also called a board scraper, or bench scraper; this is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. Bench scrapers measure about 6 by 3 inches, have a straight edge, are normally marked with measurement markings, and have a plastic or wooden handle or curved edge for gripping.

Bench scrapers can be used for everything from cutting dough, to scraping flour or crumbs off a pastry board or counter, loosening dough from a work surface as you knead, scoring certain cookies such as shortbread, leveling a cup when measuring dry ingredients, transferring pastry or bread dough from one place to another, and transferring chopped nuts or chocolate from a cutting board into a bowl. My favorite tool to cut bar cookies is a stainless steel bench scraper; simply push the bench scraper straight down into the cookie for straight cuts. Shop for dough scrapers.

doughnut – Also known as donut. An individual sized cake made with sweetened dough that is either baked or deep fried. The dough is cut with a doughnut cutter into a round shape with a center hole.

doughnut and bagel cutter – This is similar to a round biscuit cutter, but with a smaller round cutter in the center to make the doughnut or bagel hole. Shop for doughnut and bagel cutters.

dragee – Dragees are tiny, edible, shiny silver or gold balls that look like tiny pearls, and are used as decorations for cakes, cookies, and confections. Dragees are made with sugar and are extremely hard. In accordance with FDA guidelines, dragees sold in America are labeled “for decoration only” due to the trace amounts of metal used in making them. A dragee is also an almond or other flavored center covered with a hard shiny sugar coating. Shop for dragees.

drizzle – Pouring a thin stream of an ingredient on top of other food. For example use a spoon dipped in icing to put thin lines of icing on baked cinnamon rolls.

drop cookie – A cookie formed by dropping spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet.

dry measuring cups – Basic dry measuring cups are purchased in a set that includes 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup. Larger measuring cup sets may also include 1/8 cup, 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup and 1½ cup measures. A dry measuring cup does not have a pouring spout; instead they should have a straight edge to allow for easy leveling. Dry measuring cups are used to measure all dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, and oats, also for semisolid ingredients such as jam, shortening, sour cream, and peanut butter.

When measuring, add the ingredient into the measuring cup so that it is mounded and overfull, and then level it off by sweeping a straight edge, such as a metal ruler or knife, across the top of the measuring cup, leveling off the ingredient. My favorite measuring cups are stainless steel as they are the most durable and have the best edges; however you may also find acrylic cups you prefer. It’s helpful to have two sets of measuring cups so you don’t have to wash and dry the cups to measure multiple ingredients. Shop for dry measuring cups.

ducat – An Austrian cake made with a yeast dough, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, and served with warm custard.

Dundee cake – A light textured Scottish fruit cake made with candied orange peel, currants, lemon and orange zest, ground and slivered almonds, and spices. The top of the cake is completely covered with whole blanched almonds.

dust – Sprinkling a light amount of an ingredient, such as powdered sugar, on top of a cake. Also, lightly sprinkle flour on a board before rolling out pastry.

Dutch-processed cocoa – Cocoa butter is extracted from pure chocolate liquor, leaving dry cakes of cocoa. These cakes are ground to make cocoa powder. Unsweetened cocoa has no added sugar, flavoring, or cocoa butter, and has an acid base. If alkali is added to the cocoa powder, the acidity of the cocoa is neutralized its acidity along with enriching the flavor, and is known as Dutch-processed cocoa. Shop for Dutch-processed cocoa.

eccles cake – A British cake made in individual size portions. A small circle of pastry is layered with a mixture of sugar, spices, currants, and candied lemon or orange peel, and topped with another pastry circle. The edges of the dessert are twisted together to form a rope-like border.

éclair – A pastry made by piping pate a choux pastry into a long finger shape. The pastry may be piped onto a baking sheet or onto an éclair pan. After baking the pastry is split open horizontally and normally filled with a vanilla cream and then topped with a chocolate glaze. Other fillings may be used such as chocolate cream or whipped cream.

éclair pan – A flat pan with twelve 3-inch long and 1-inch wide indentations. The pastry for éclairs is piped into the indentations, and then baked. The pan can also be used to form ladyfinger cookies.

egg – Hard shelled, unfertilized ovum produced by female birds. All parts of the egg are edible, although the outer shell is normally discarded. Eggs add color, flavor, and texture to baked foods. Eggs also act as a leavening agent helping food to rise during baking. Egg yolks add fat to a recipe. Egg whites are the main ingredient in meringues.

egg cream – A beverage popular in New York since the 1930’s, made with milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer water. There are no eggs used in this beverage, the name comes from the frothy white top that resembles beaten egg whites.

eggnog – A holiday beverage, normally associated with Christmastime, served either warm or cold. Eggnog is made with eggs, cream or milk, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Eggnog may be cooked or uncooked, and spiked with rum, brandy, or whiskey. See recipe for Eggnog Cheesecake.

egg wash – An egg wash is made from a whole egg, egg yolk, or egg white and normally beaten with milk or water. The egg wash is brushed over baked goods before baking with a pastry brush. The egg wash aids in browning and provides a crisp shiny surface, and acts as a moisture barrier. An egg wash also helps to hold toppings, such as nuts or seeds in place while baking.

elastic – Dough that is capable of recovering its original shape after being stretched.

election cake – A cake created in the 18th century to celebrate Election Day. Election cake is made with dried fruit and flavored with sherry and spices.

electric mixer – A good electric stand mixer is the heart and soul of a baker’s kitchen and worth the price if you love to bake. I love my Kitchen Aid mixer, and except for pies and tarts, it is used for most of my baking projects. Stand mixers range in size from 4 quart to 7 quart. The smaller models will serve most home baking needs. But if you like to bake double batches of cookies or bread dough’s, then you’ll want the larger size mixers. Most mixers come with a whip, and dough hook, and paddle attachments, which are used to knead dough, beat meringues, and fold batters smoothly together. Shop for electric mixers.

embroidery piping – A type of cake decorating using a pastry bag and decorating tip to resemble embroidery.

empanada – A deep fried turnover with either a sweet or savory filling.

emulsion – a mixture of two unmixable liquids, such as combining oil and vinegar. Eggs act an emulsifier when making cake batter, holding the previously creamed butter and sugar together so they don’t separate.

Engadine nut torte – A Swiss tart made with a pastry shell filled with a mixture of caramelized walnuts, sugar, and honey.

enrobe – To coat a candy or pastry with a chocolate, sugar, or fondant.

entremet ring – A stainless steel cake ring with straight sides. The ring is placed on a parchment paper lined baking sheet that acts as the bottom. The batter is poured into the ring and baked.

Epiphany cake – Also known as Twelfth Night Cake or King Cake. A cake served on Epiphany, January 6th. The cake may be a butter or sponge cake, but is typically a yeast cake shaped in a round or ring shape. Traditionally a small token is baked into the cake, and the person receiving the slice with the token is named king or queen of the day.

espresso – A very strong Italian coffee. Espresso is used in baking to give a coffee flavor to the baked or dessert item.

espresso powder – A powder made from dried roasted espresso beans that dissolve instantly in water. Espresso powder may be used in baking when a coffee flavor is desired. Shop for espresso powder. See recipe for Espresso Cups.

essential oil – Oil that is extracted from various parts of plants, such as the leaves, stems, and flowers. Essentials oils are very strong and concentrated and only very small amounts are used to impart flavor.

evaporated milk – Canned milk that has had half of the water removed through evaporation. Evaporated milk can be used as a substitute for fresh milk in baking by adding an equal part of water to the evaporated milk.

executive chef – The person responsible for managing all aspects of a commercial kitchen, including food preparation, menu development, staff management, purchasing, and inventory control.

extract – Made from concentrated natural oils derived from plants and mixed with alcohol and used to provide flavor. Common extracts used in baking are vanilla, almond, lemon, and mint. Because extracts are concentrated only a small amount is needed to impart the flavor.

fasnacht – A deep fried potato doughnut made with a yeast batter and served on Tuesday, also known as “Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.fat rascal – A large English scone filled with candied fruit, almonds, and spices, typically served warm with butter.

filbert – Also called hazelnuts, filberts are a small round, golden colored nut. The nut is covered with a brown papery skin that is often removed before using in a baked item. See Toasting Nuts and Seeds. Shop for filberts.

financier – A sponge cake made with ground almonds, egg whites, and melted butter. The pan is lined with sliced almonds that adhere to the cake as it bakes. Financiers may be baked as individual cakes or as a base for small pastries or petit fours. Large financiers are often made in layers in cakes decorated with icing or fondant.

firm ball stage – Indicates the stage and temperature when a small amount of hot sugar syrup is dropped into cold water and it forms a pliable, sticky ball that holds it shape briefly when removed from the water, and then deflates. The firm ball stage temperature ranges between 244 and 248 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

firmly packed – When measuring brown sugar, spoon the sugar into a dry measuring cup, pressing down firmly to compact the sugar.

flaky – A pastry item with a light crisp texture, such as flaky pie pastry.

flambé – Pouring liqueur over food, such as a fruit sauce, and setting it on fire. Flambéing, also called flaming, is normally done tableside; the fire burns briefly until the alcohol has burned away, and then the food is served.

flan – An open faced pastry shell with either a sweet custard or savory filling. Flans are baked using a flan ring in individual or large sizes.

flan ring – A flan ring is a metal ring with no fluting around the sides, and no bottom. The ring is set on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat, and then filled. The baking sheet serves as the bottom of the pan. Flan rings are used to shape open-faced tarts, pastry shells, and some candies. Shop for flan rings.

floating island – Egg-shaped mounds of firmly whipped and sweetened egg whites are first poached in milk or water. After poaching the mounds are served in a pool of crème anglaise. The mounds appear as little islands floating in a sea of custard.

flour sifter – Flour sifters are used when a recipe calls for sifted flour. The most common sifter is a canister type with either a single mesh screen, or triple mesh screen and a rotating blade that is controlled by a rotary or squeeze handle. Choose a sifter with at least a three-cup capacity. A sifter can sift any dry ingredient, including flour, cocoa powder, and confectioner’s sugar. Shop for flour sifters.

flour duster – Also known as a flour wand or flour shaker, this old-fashioned tool is used to dust a work surface with flour, allowing you to have just a light dusting instead of scattered handfuls of flour. The Flour duster has a ball of coiled metal that is filled with flour; when the handle is squeezed it lets out just a small amount of flour. The flour duster can also be used to lightly sprinkle confectioner’s sugar or cocoa on top of cakes. Shop for flour dusters.

florentine – A confection that is a cross between a cookie and a candy. Florentines are a thin and lacey wafer that may be have a chocolate coating or sandwiched with a chocolate filling. See recipe for Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies.

flower nail – A small flat metal disc attached to a thin handle, and used to make buttercream or icing flowers. The flower is piped on the disc and then removed with a small spatula.

fluffy – Ingredients that become soft and light because air has been beaten in.

flute – To press pastry edges together, usually forming a scalloped pattern, so the edges are sealed. Fluting is done with your thumb and fingers.

fluted tube pan – These pans are fun to use, producing a fancier cake than a basic layer cake. Pans such as Bavaria shape, castle shape, chrysanthemum shape, star shape, heart shape are just a few of the fun shapes to choose from. Shop for fluted tube pans.

fold – To gently blend light ingredients, such as beaten egg whites or whipped cream, with other heavier ingredients, so that the finished product remains light. For example to fold egg whites into cake batter, go down the inside of the bowl with a rubber spatula, across the bottom and gently up through the middle of the batter until the egg white is just barely blended with the batter.

fondant – Fondant is a thick, creamy white, delicious sugar mixture that can be rolled, used for candy centers, molded into shapes, or made pourable to cover cakes. Fondant is easily tinted with food colors, flavored with extracts or oil flavorings and may have fruits and nuts for flavor variety. Fondant is used in candy making and is the filling used in many cream filled candies such as bonbons, peppermint patties, pecan logs, truffles, cream filled Easter eggs, and chocolate covered cherries. See recipe for Fondant.

food coloring – Concentrated edible dye used to tint candies, cakes, and frostings, and is available in liquid, paste, gel, and powders. Shop for food coloring.

food processor – A food processor is an expensive investment; however it is a versatile machine for chopping, dicing, mixing pastry dough, mixing some cookie dough’s, and pureeing fruit. Food processors come in various sizes. A good all-around size is a 1½ to 2 quart capacity. I like to use a mini food processor for small jobs such as chopping nuts quickly. Shop for food processors.

fool – A British dessert that combines fresh or pureed fruit and sweetened whipped cream.

frangipane – A rich almond pastry cream used as a filling in desserts, tarts, and pastries. Frangipane is also a pastry, similar to choux pastry, made with a cooked mixture of egg yolks, butter, flour, and milk.

French apple pie – A single-crust apple pie topped with streusel.

French buttercream – A rich, creamy, buttery frosting made with cooked sugar syrup, whole eggs, and egg yolks, butter and flavoring. See recipe for Classic French Buttercream.

French macaron – See macaron

fritter – Pieces of fruit, such as apples, that are dipped in batter and then deep fried. The fritter is normally served hot and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

frost – Covering a baked cake, cookie, or pastry with icing or frosting.

frosting – A sweet, spreadable filling and coating used on cakes, cookies and pastries. Frosting is normally rich and creamy with a thick and fluffy texture. There are many types of frosting, including cooked and uncooked, buttercream and ganache. Frosting is made primarily with sugar, normally granulated or confectioners’ sugar, and often includes butter, eggs, cream cheese and flavorings. See recipe for Vanilla Butter Frosting.

fruitcake – Fruitcake is a rich, dense cake that is normally loaded with dried or candied fruits, nuts and spices and just enough cake batter to hold the mixture together. Fruitcake is baked long and slow and can be eaten immediately but is best if allowed to age for weeks or months tightly wrapped in cheesecloth soaked rum, bourbon, or brandy. Fruitcake is often associated with holidays such as Easter and Christmas. Dark fruitcakes are typically made with molasses or brown sugar and darker colored fruits; light fruitcakes are typically made with granulated sugar or corn syrup and lighter colored fruits. See recipe for Rich Walnut Fruitcake.

fruit compote – Fruit that is lightly poached in lightly sweetened syrup.

fudge – A creamy, rich, decadent confection normally made with chocolate. Fudge is cooked on the stovetop, poured into a pan to cool, and then cut into small squares. Fudge is normally made with sugar, cream, chocolate, and sometimes butter and marshmallows. See recipe for Rocky Road Fudge.

funnel cake – Funnel cake is a deep fried crisp, golden cake made by pouring batter through a funnel into hot fat and swirling the batter to form a spiral pattern. After frying the cake is drained, coated with confectioners’ sugar or maple syrup and served hot.

galette – A flat pastry made with sweet pastry dough or sweet yeast dough that is filled with fruit, nuts, jam, or pastry cream.

ganache – Chocolate and cream that is heated until the chocolate is melted and blended with the cream. When the ganache is still liquid and warm it can be poured over cakes for a smooth shiny glaze. When ganache is cooled it can be formed into balls as the center of truffle confections. Ganache can also be used as a filling in cakes or pastries. See recipe for Ganache.

garnish – Decorating and enhancing the flavor or appearance of food by adding other attractive and complimentary foods to either the food or serving dish.

gâteau – the French word for cake. Gateau is often a sponge type cake, and often made with ground nuts such as almonds. Gateaux cakes tend to be fancier, often served after a special dinner. It is typically made in layers; the cake is sometimes soaked with flavored syrup to provide extra moistness, layered with a rich filling, and then frosted with whipped cream or Buttercream frosting, and each portion is identically garnished. See recipe for Almond Apple Gateau.

gâteau Saint-Honoré – A classic cake made with a base of puff pastry or pâté brisée with pâte à choux dough piped in concentric circles on top. After baking it is filled with rich custard called Chiboust Cream. Small pâte à choux cream puff shapes are also baked and filled with additional Chiboust Cream, glazed with caramel, and then attached to the outer rim of the cake with additional caramel.

genoise – A classic European sponge-type cake that is less-sweet than other sponge cakes, and may also contain butter to provide tenderness plus a richer and more flavorful taste. Genoise is a dry sponge cake, and is normally soaked with flavored syrup to provide extra moistness. To make Genoise cakes, whole eggs are beaten with sugar while heating over a pan of simmering water to dissolve the sugar and allow the mixture to whip higher, holding more air bubbles. After warming, the egg and sugar mixture is whipped until it is thick, light in color, and billowy like whipped cream. Lastly flour is folded in and butter may be added. Sponge cakes must be unmolded as soon as baked; otherwise the steam will soften and collapse the cake. See recipe for Black Forest Cherry Torte.

German chocolate cake – A rich chocolate layer cake with cooked coconut pecan frosting for the filling between the layers and as a topping on the cake. The name comes from the Bakers German Chocolate used to make the cake. See recipe for German Chocolate Cake.

gingerbread – A dark sweet cake made with molasses and spiced with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and normally served with sweetened whipped cream.

gingerbread house – An edible decoration made from firm pieces of baked gingerbread or sometimes graham crackers that are “glued” together with royal icing in the shape of a small cottage. The house is decorated with royal icing and small candies.

gingerbread cookies – Rolled a cutout cookies flavored with molasses and spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The cookies may be served as is or decorated with icings and sugar sprinkles. See recipe for Gingerbread Snowflakes.

gingersnap – A thin, crisp round, spicy cookie with a crinkly top. Gingersnaps are flavored with molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, and rolled in granulated sugar before baking for a sugary coating. See recipe for Gingersnap Cookies.

glaze – Brushing food with milk, egg, or sugar before baking in order to produce a shiny golden finish. Or to brush a thin coating of icing on top of a baked cake, cookie or bread to give the food a sweet and shiny finish.

gold leaf – Edible, tasteless silver leaves made from pure gold. The leaves are ultra thin and sold in small square sheets separated by tissue paper. Gold leaf is used to decorate desserts and confections. It dissolves easily from the moisture in your hands if touched; therefore it is handled with a tweezers or a small dry artist brush. Shop for gold leaf.

golden brown – When something is baked or cooked to a light brown or caramel looking color.

golden raisin – Sun or air-dried grapes typically made from Thomson seedless grapes. Golden raisins have a pale, golden-yellow color. They are treated with sulfur dioxide to prevent them from turning dark. Shop for golden raisins.

graham cracker crust – pie crust, either baked or unbaked, made with crushed graham crackers, butter, and sugar. It is a popular crust for many custard pies and cheesecakes. See recipe for Graham Cracker Crust.

Grand Marnier – A French liqueur made with Cognac brandy that is infused with bitter oranges, spices, and vanilla and then aged in oak vats for six to eight months. Grand Marnier was created in 1880 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle. This liqueur is clear with a tint of gold and is used extensively to flavor desserts, pastries, confections, buttercreams, and ice creams. See recipe for Grand Marnier Cake.

grape pie – Also called Jelly Pie. Jelly pie is a Southern pie made with grapes, sugar, lemon juiced and cornstarch for a thickener; Concord grapes are traditionally used, however other grapes may be substituted. See recipe for Grape Pie.

grasshopper pie – A popular Southern cream pie from the 1950’s. The pie is a lovely green color made with green crème de menthe, along with whipped cream, sugar, and gelatin, and normally a graham cracker or cookie crust.

grate – Rubbing ingredients over a grater produces small fine pieces. For example chocolate may be grated, and used to decorate cakes and cookies.

grease – Rubbing butter, shortening, or oil, or spraying with a vegetable oil, on the inside of a baking pan to prevent food from sticking to the pan.

grease and flour – To first rub butter, shortening, or oil on the inside of a baking pan, then sprinkle a small amount of flour in the pan, tilt the pan to cover the sides and bottom evenly, and shake out any excel flour. This results in a light dusting of flour on the inside of the pan to prevent food, such as cakes, from sticking to the pan.

grunt - A baked cobbler from Colonial New England. Grunts are made with berries or other fresh fruit topped with a biscuit like pastry dough and baked covered in the oven. Original grunts were steamed in a covered kettle over an open fire. Grunts are normally served with heavy cream or vanilla ice cream.

gum paste – A modeling paste made with confectioners’ sugar, gelatin, glucose, water, and flavoring. Gum paste may be colored with food coloring, and is used to make decorations, figures, and flowers.

half and half – A combination of cream and milk in equal proportions.halfmanar – An Icelandic butter cookie in a half-moon shape and flavored with cardamom. The cookie is filled or sandwiched with a fruit or prune preserve and sprinkled with sugar before baking.

halvah – A confection from the Middle East made with ground sesame seeds and honey or sugar and flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, or rosewater. Halvah can also be made with pistachio nuts or almonds instead of sesame seeds.

hamantaschen – A Jewish cookie traditionally made to celebrate the festival of Purim. Pastry dough is rolled out and cut into rounds, filled with a sweet nut or fruit mixture, folded to resemble a three-cornered hat, and then baked.

hand-formed cookies – cookie dough that is formed by hand into shapes, such as logs, balls, or crescents before baking.

hand mixer – Not every mixing job in the kitchen requires a large stand mixer, and this is where the hand mixer comes into play. A hand mixer can perform nearly any beating and whipping task that a stand mixer can, except for very heavy cookie and bread dough. I usually use a hand mixer for quick or small jobs, such as beating cream cheese, whipping cream or egg whites, beating egg yolks, and making cake frostings. I also use a hand mixer to make fluffy mashed potatoes. Shop for electric hand mixers.

hard ball stage – Indicates the stage and temperature when a small amount of hot sugar syrup is dropped into cold water and it forms a firm ball that holds its shape when pressed. The hard ball stage temperature ranges between 250 and 266 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

hard crack stage – Indicates the stage and temperature when a small amount of hot sugar syrup is dropped into cold water and it separates into brittle threads. The hard crack stage temperature ranges between 300 and 310 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

hard sauce – A creamed mixture of butter and sugar, and flavored with vanilla, rum, or brandy. Hard sauce is traditionally served with plum pudding.

hasty pudding – A pudding made with cornmeal mush and sweetened with molasses, maple syrup, or honey.

haystack – Also called a coconut haystack. Haystacks are made with beaten egg whites, sugar, and coconut. Small amounts of the mixture are formed into a haystack shape then baked. The bottoms may be dipped in chocolate with a chocolate drizzle on top.

hazelnut – Also called filberts, hazelnuts are a small round, golden colored nut. The nut is covered with a brown papery skin that is often removed before using in a baked item. See Toasting Nuts and Seeds. See recipe for Hazelnut Cheesecake.

heavy cream – Also called whipping cream.

hermit – a chewy cookie made with molasses and nuts. The belief is that the cookie tastes best after a few days.

high-altitude baking – Baking at high altitudes requires recipes to be adjusted because water boils at a lower temperature at high altitudes.

honey – A natural sweetener made from nectar collected by honeybees from flowers, and used as a sweetener in baking. Shop for honey.

honeybun – A sweet yeast roll, made in a spiral shape, and glazed with honey.

hoosier cake – A gingerbread cake with a coarse texture that originated in the Midwest in the 19th century.

hot cross bun – A traditional Easter bun, made with yeast dough flavored with raisins or currants and spices. A cross is cut into the top of each bun and glazed with sugar icing. See recipe for Hot Cross Buns.

hot fudge – A thick, sweet topping made with chocolate, butter, and sugar that is used as a topping for ice cream and desserts.

huguenot torte – A southern dessert that is a baked apple, filled with a nut mixture and garnished with whipped cream and additional nuts.

hummingbird cake – A moist layer cake made with bananas, pineapple and pecans. The cake is filled and frosted with a cream cheese frosting and garnished with additional pecans. See recipe for Hummingbird Cake.

Iago – A small sponge cake filled with coffee Buttercream and covered with coffee flavored fondant icing. The cake is named for the villain in Shakespeare’s Othello.

ice– Spreading a frosting on top of cakes or cookies.

icebox cookies – Also called refrigerator cookies. The cookie dough is rolled into a log shape, chilled in the refrigerator or freezer until firm, then sliced and baked. See recipe for Vanilla Nut Refrigerator Cookies.

ice cream – A frozen dessert made with milk or cream, sugar, flavoring, and sometimes eggs. Ice cream is made in numerous flavors such as vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

ice cream scoop – A small hand-held tool used to remove ice cream from its container. Ice cream scoops are also ideal to portion out cookie dough and cupcake batter. Shop for ice cream scoops.

ice cream soda – a sweet beverage made with ice cream that is topped with flavored syrup, whipped cream, nuts, and a maraschino cherry.

icing – A sweet mixture, made primarily from sugar, to cover cakes, pastries, cookies, and petit fours. Icing is normally thinner than frosting and may somewhat harden to form a thin crust. There are many types of icing, including cooked and uncooked, water icing, royal icing, fondant icing, and boiled icing. Icing enhances the flavor and helps to retain moisture and extend the shelf life of the baked item.

impossible pie – This pie forms its own crust while baking. Made with a biscuit mix, eggs, milk, coconut, sugar, and butter; when the pie bakes the biscuit mix settles to the bottom forming a crust. The other ingredients form a creamy custard on top of the crust.

ingredients – Food items, such as butter, eggs, flour, spices and flavorings that are used in a recipe.

instant read thermometer – An instant-read thermometer registers the internal temperature of a baked item within 15 seconds or so. This allows you to quickly check water temperatures, or the doneness of baked goods such as a cake, pastries, custards, or yeast bread quickly, allowing the oven door to be open for a minimal amount of time. Shop for instant read thermometers.

Irish soda bread – An Irish quick bread that uses baking soda for leavening. The bread is traditionally made with just flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Modern versions may include raisins or currants and nuts.

jalousie – A French pastry made with puff pastry baked in a long rectangular shape. A bottom pastry is spread with an almond or fruit filling, and then topped with a lattice cut pastry so that the filling shows through. After baking it is dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

jam – A thick fruit spread, made from pureed or crushed fruit, sugar, and sometimes pectin for thickening. Jam is usually cooked, but may be uncooked. Jam is used as a spread on bread, and may also be used a sweet filling or glaze for cakes, cookies, and pastries.

jasmine – A sweet scented flower. Jasmine is used to flavor tea and used as a flavoring in baking.

jellies – Small candies made with concentrated fruit juice, sugar, and gelatin. The jellies are cooked to a firm and chewy texture, poured into a pan to cool, then cut into small squares. The jellies are rolled in a sugar coating.

jelly – A clear fruit spread made from clear fruit juice, sugar, and sometimes pectin for thickening. Jelly is normally cooked, but may be uncooked. Jelly is used as a spread on bread, and may also be used a sweet filling or glaze for cakes, cookies, and pastries.

jelly pie – Also called Grape Pie. Jelly pie is a Southern pie made with grapes, sugar, lemon juiced and cornstarch for a thickener; Concord grapes are traditionally used, however other grapes may be substituted. See recipe for Grape Pie.

jelly roll – Also called a roulade. A sponge cake that is rolled up in the shape of a log after baking and while still warm. When the cake is cooled it is unrolled and spread with jam or other fillings such as whipped cream or buttercream. The cake is then re-rolled into the log shape. The top may be frosted or dusted with confectioners’ sugar, then sliced to serve. See recipe for Vanilla Cream Roll.

jelly roll pan – Jelly Roll pans are the same as a baking sheet. They have a raised edge all around, usually ½ to 1 inch high. The most all-purpose size to have is a 12½ x 17½ by 1 inch Jelly Roll Pan. Jelly roll pans are most often used to make bar cookies, shortbread, sponge cakes, sheet cakes, focaccia breads, and more. A jelly roll pan is also good to place under a fruit pie as it is baking to catch overflowing juices, and to hold springform and tart pans with removable bottoms while baking. Shop for jelly roll pans.

jimmies – Also called sprinkles and nonpareils. Jimmies are tiny pieces of sugar candy, normally round or elongated, coated in a chocolate or a colored sugar topping. They are commonly used to decorate the tops of cakes, cookies, and pastries. Shop for sprinkles and nonpareils.

johnnycake – A flatbread made with cornmeal, originally made by early settlers to New England. Modern versions include eggs, oil, and baking powder.

jordan almond – A whole almond encased in a hard sugar coating. Jordan almonds are made in several colors and are popular at Easter and weddings.

journey cake – another name for johnnycake. Journey cakes were easily prepared and easily carried by travelers.

jumble – A sugar cookie normally made with sour cream, walnuts and coconut.

junket – A custard-like pudding made from milk, sugar, and flavorings. The pudding is jelled with rennet, an ingredient used to curdle milk.

kaak – A Lebanese yeast pastry formed into a ring shape and topped with sesame seeds. After baking it is covered with a milk and sugar glaze.

Kahlua – coffee flavored liqueur.

kaiser roll – a large round roll with a crisp crust and soft, chewy center.

Karo – A brand of corn syrup, sold in light and dark versions.

key lime – The fruit of the Key Lime Tree. Most Key Lime trees are grown in Mexico and Central America. A key lime is smaller than a Persian lime, with a thin, smooth, yellow-green peel and a pale yellow-green flesh. Key limes are well known as the main ingredient in Key Lime Pie.

Key lime pie – A pie that originates from the 1850’s, made with key limes and sweetened condensed milk in a graham cracker crust. The pie has a sweet-tart flavor, smooth creamy texture, and is a pale yellow-green color, the same color as the key limes. Key Lime Pie is designated the official state pie of Florida. See recipe for Key Lime Pie.

King Cake – Also known as Three Kings Cake, Epiphany Cake or Twelfth Night Cake. A cake served on Epiphany, January 6th, the twelfth day after Christmas when the biblical three kings arrived. in The cake may be a butter or sponge cake, but is typically a yeast cake shaped in a round or ring shape. Traditionally a small token such as a coin, bean, or baby figure, is baked into the cake, and the person receiving the slice with the token is named king or queen of the day. The season for King Cake begins on January 6th and extends through Tuesday, also known as “Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. See recipe for King Cake.

kipferin – Also caked Viennese horn. A Viennese butter cookie in a crescent shape made at Christmastime. The cookie is made with ground almonds and rolled in confectioners’ sugar.

kirschwasser – Also called kirsch. Kirschwasser is a colorless fruit brandy distilled from morello cherries and the cherry pits. Kirschwasser originated in the Black Forest region of Germany and is used to flavor the famous Black Forest Cherry Torte. See recipe for Black Forest Cherry Torte.

Kitchen Timer – A kitchen timer is essential for baking, you don’t want to remember or guess how long a batch of cookies have been baking, or how much longer a cake has to bake. Digital timers are the easiest and most accurate to use, and you want a timer that is easy to hear if you are in another room. I like to use a digital timer that hangs around your neck so wherever you are in the house you won’t forget that batch of cookies baking in the oven. A multi-job timer is good when you need to time more than one item at a time, such as something baking in the oven, cooling on a rack, and chilling in the refrigerator all at once. An alternative to a kitchen timer is simply using the timer built in to your microwave or oven. Shop for kitchen timers.

kitchen Torch – A small kitchen torch, used with propane, makes creating a caramelized topping on crème brulee. It is also handy for browning meringues and glazing tarts. Shop for kitchen torches.

knead – To work soft dough with the heels of your hand, by folding, pressing, and stretching the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.

kolache – A sweet pastry from Czechoslovakia made from sweet cream cheese dough or sweet yeast dough that is rolled into squares. The square is topped with a filling of poppy seed, cream cheese, nuts or fruit, and then folded over to cover the filling. The filled squares are baked and topped with a confectioners’ sugar icing.

koulourakia – A Greek butter cookie made at Easter time. The cookies are flavored with brandy, and twisted into a corkscrew shape. The top of the cookie is brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds before baking.

kourambledes – A Greek butter cookie made with finely ground walnuts and rose water and rolled in confectioners’ sugar.

krakelinge – A Danish cookie made in a figure-eight shape. The cookie is cinnamon flavored, and brushed with egg whites, sugar, and ground almonds.

kringle – A Danish pastry made with a sweet yeast dough, normally formed in a ring shape, filled with a fruit or nut filling, and topped with a sugar icing. See recipe for Kringle.

krokant – A European chewy nut brittle made with almonds or hazelnuts.

krumkake – A Norwegian Christmas cookie. The cookie is made on a specially designed iron carved with intricate designs. The cookie batter is normally flavored with cardamom and is baked on the iron, and then while still warm rolled into a cone shape. When cool the krumkake is filled with sweetened whipped cream.

krumkake iron – An appliance with two hinged metal plates that have an intricately etched design that close together. Krumkake batter is poured on the bottom plate, and then covered with the top plate. The krumkake iron is placed on a ring that sits over a stove burner to cook the cookie.

kuchen – A German dessert that can be made as a type of coffeecake or made with a sweetened yeast dough. The dessert is normally made with sugar and spices, or nuts, or cheese, or fruit. See recipe for Cherry Kuchen.

kugelhopf – A sweet yeast bread made with raisins or fruits and nuts. Kugelhopf is normally baked in a Kugelhopf pan that is tall and fluted. Kugelhopf is normally served as a coffee cake and is often made at Christmastime. See recipe for Kugelhopf.

kugelhopf Pan – Kugelhopf pans are for baking Kugelhopf, A European cake baked in a special Kugelhopf pan which is a deep, round, tube pan with ornate fluting, and a narrow center tube. The cake is a sweet yeast cake studded with raisins, nuts, and candied fruits, and has a round pyramid shape when the cake in unmolded. Shop for kugelhopf pans.

kulich – A Russian Easter cake, similar to pannetone. Kulich is a yeast cake formed in a tall cylindrical shape, and made with candied orange peel, raisins, and spices. After baking it is topped with candied orange peel, nuts, and confectioners’ sugar. See recipe for Kulich.

Lady Baltimore cake – This cake is spoken of in Owen Wister’s book “Lady Baltimore” and inspired his readers to search for the Lady Baltimore cake recipe. According to legend, Wister had once tried a piece of this cake thought it so delicious that he decided to incorporate it into his novel. Lady Baltimore is traditionally a white cake with a white meringue frosting, and a filling of meringue, dried figs, raisins, and nuts. See recipe for Lady Baltimore Cake.

ladyfinger – Ladyfingers are a cake-like cookie made with a sponge cake batter. The batter is piped with a pastry bag onto a baking sheet into finger shapes about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. After baking the cookies are dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Lady fingers are used when making charlottes, trifles and tiramisu. See recipe for Ladyfingers.

laminated dough – Pastry dough that is prepared by layering dough and fat along with a long process of rolling and folding. This process, along with baking the dough at a high temperature, produces flaky layers. Common pastries using laminated dough are Croissants, Danish, and puff pastry.

Lamington – An Australian pastry that is rolled in shredded coconut.

Lane cake – Lane cake is a white cake make with whipped egg whites, layered and filled with a cooked egg yolk custard containing dried fruits, normally raisins, along with nuts, coconut, and bourbon, and frosted with a boiled icing such as Seven Minute Frosting. Lane cake is a southern tradition that originated in Alabama, created by Emma Rylander Lane in the 1800’s. See recipe for Lane Cake.

lame – A Lame is a French tool with a curved razor blade set into a handle. A lame is used to slash the top of bread, such as baguettes, just before it goes into the oven. The slash allows the bread to expand fully to its proper shape as it bakes. A small, very sharp kitchen knife can also be used to slash the bread dough.

lardy cake – An English cake made with a sweet dough and filled with dried fruit, lard, and sugar. Modern versions usually replace the lard with butter.

lattice – A decorative topping for pies; strips of pastry dough are overlapped or woven to form a crisscross pattern. Lattice toppings are popular with fruit pies. See recipe for Apple Cranberry Lattice Pie.

layer cake – A cake made with two or more layers sandwiched between frosting or filling. See recipe for Yellow Cake.

layer cake pans – Many basic cake recipes use traditional round layer cake pans that are either 8 or 9 inches in diameter. The pans should be at least 2 or 2½ inches deep so that the batter doesn’t overflow. You’ll want to have a set of at least two round layer cake pans; however a set of three pans is best as many cake recipes are made with 3 layers. Choose pans with no seams on the inside and a good, heavy feel to them.

lazy-daisy cake – A cake made with a single layer of yellow butter cake, and topped with a mixture of coconut, butter, and brown sugar, and then browned under the oven broiler.

lb – the abbreviation for pound.

lean dough – bread dough made with flour, water, salt, and yeast and little or no fat or sugar, giving the dough had a crisp crust when baked. French bread is a common lean dough.

leaven – Leavening lightens the texture of a dough or batter, helping the baked item to rise while baking. Common leavening agents are baking powder, baking soda, yeast, and air beaten into egg whites or butter.

lebkuchen – A German cakelike cookie made with honey, spices, candied peels, and nuts. Lebkuchen dough may be rolled and cut with cookie cutters, or pressed into carved molds, however many versions are baked in a pan, glazed with a thin sugar icing, and cut into squares. Lebkuchen, or “lifecake,” is a dense chewy cookie that can be made up to one month before serving as the cookie improves with age. See recipe for Lebkuchen Bars.

lemon – A citrus fruit from lemon trees. Lemons are oval shaped with a bright yellow peel and pale-yellow flesh with a tart taste. Lemon and lemon flavorings are commonly used in baking. The peel can be removed and discarded, but it is also edible. The peel of citrus fruits is often candied. See recipe for Candied Lemon Peel.

lemon curd – A creamy thick spreadable cooked cream made with egg yolks, butter, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Lemon curd is traditionally served with scones, and is also used as a filling in cakes, tarts, and pastries. See recipe for Lemon Curd.

lemon meringue pie – A classic American pie made with a lemon curd filling in a pre-baked pie crust, and topped with a thick layer of meringue that is browned in the oven before serving. See recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie.

level – When measuring dry ingredients, spoon the ingredient into a cup until overfull, then level the top with a straight edge such as a knife or spatula.

line – Covering a baking sheet or the inside of a baking dish with parchment paper, waxed paper, or foil to prevent food from sticking.

linzertorte – A Viennese tart made with an almond or hazelnut pastry and filled with raspberry preserves. The top is covered with a pastry, woven into a lattice shape.

liquid measuring cup – All liquid ingredients, such as water, milk, or juice are measured in a liquid measuring cup. Liquid measuring cups should be made of clear glass or plastic, have a pouring spout, and have clear measurement markings on the side. It is handy to have a 1 cup measure, along with a 2 cup and 4 cup measure for most baking projects. Liquid measuring cups are also handy for warming milk or melting butter in the microwave. To accurately measure, place the measuring cup on a flat surface and pour the liquid in up to the marking for the amount you need. Let the liquid stop swishing around to determine the level it is at. Shop for liquid measuring cups.

loaf pan – Loaf pans are used for most quick bread recipes, such as banana bread and zucchini bread. Metal, stone, glass, and ceramic loaf pans all work well for quick breads. Loaf pans can also be used for yeast breads. The most useful sizes are a 9¼ x 5¼ x 2½ inch loaf pans for larger loaves and 8½ x 4½ x 2½ inch loaf pans for smaller loaves. Darker loaf pans are good for crusty yeast breads; however light aluminum is best for sweet and quick breads so they don’t over-darken. Shop for loaf pans.

Lord Baltimore cake – It is believed that this cake was created to use up the leftover egg yolks from making Lady Baltimore Cake. Lord Baltimore cake is a layer cake made with whole eggs or egg yolks and filled with a mixture of crushed macaroons, pecans or almonds, and candied cherries, and frosted with white meringue frosting.

luster dust – another name for pearl dust. Pearl dust is a colored, edible dusting powder that gives a pearlescent sheen, and is often used in cake decorating. The dust may be sprinkled on dry, or mixed with a clear alcohol, such as gin or vodka to create a liquid decoration that can be painted, using a small artist paintbrush. Shop for luster dust.

macadamia nut – Grown primarily in Hawaii, these small, round nuts have a rich, buttery flavor. Shop for macadamia nuts.macaroon – A cookie with a crisp exterior and soft chewy interior, made with almonds or almond paste, sugar, and egg whites. Macaroons may also contain other nuts or coconut. Shop for macadamia nuts.

macaron – A French cookie with a crisp exterior and soft chewy interior, made primarily with ground almonds, almond paste or almond flour, sugar, and egg whites. While baking the macaroon forms a smooth top and crinkly “foot.” After baking two macaroon cookies are sandwiched together. Traditionally the sandwich filling is a thin layer of ganache or raspberry or apricot jam filling, however many modern versions are made with a Buttercream filling. See recipes for Macarons, Chocolate Macarons.

Madeira cake – A rich English sponge cake flavored with lemon peel. The cake originated in the 19th century and was served with a glass of Madeira wine. See recipe for Madeira Cake.

madeleine – Madeleine’s are a small and tender French cake that is baked in a special pan Madeleine pan forming the cakes into a scallop shell shape. Madeleine’s are sometimes thought of as a cookie, but are actually little buttery spongy cakes, sometimes delicately flavored with lemon, orange, or almond.

madeleine pan – This pan is used for making Madeleine’s. The Madeleine pan, also known as a Madeleine plaque, usually have 8 or 12 shallow scallop shell-shaped indentations, and come in tinned steel, metal with a nonstick finish, and pliable silicone. A Madeleine pan can also be used to make other formed cookies, such as shortbread, tiny muffins, and petit fours. Shop for madeleine pans.

mandelbrot – Jewish crisp almond bread that is baked, sliced, then baked again, similar to biscotti.

mandelhoernchen – A delicate and buttery almond German cookie shaped into a crescent or “horn” shape. Mandelhoernchen means almond horn. See recipe for Mandelhoernchen.

maple cream – A thick creamy, sweet maple spread made by heating maple syrup, cooling it down, and then whipping it until thickened.

maple syrup – Syrup produced by boiling the sap of the sugar maple tree until most of the water evaporates. Maple syrup is graded according to color; grade AA is a pale golden syrup, grades a and b are deeper in color with a stronger flavor, grace C is very dark with the strongest flavor. Many baking recipes use grade B maple syrup. See recipe for Maple Cupcakes.

maraschino cherry – A sweet cherry, normally a Royal Ann cherry, that is pitted and macerated in sugar syrup, then dyed red or green. Maraschino cherries are often used as a garnish for desserts and cocktails.

marble – To create swirls of another color in a batter. For example a white, vanilla batter may have swirls of chocolate batter. See recipe for Chocolate Marble Pound Cake.

marble board – A hard, natural material that maintains a cool temperature. Marble boards work well when rolling pastry dough, cookies, and working with chocolate and sugar. Shop for marble pastry boards.

Marlborough pie – A Thanksgiving pie from Massachusetts, made with applesauce, eggs, cream, sherry, nutmeg.

marmalade – Citrus fruit and peel that is cooked with sugar to form a thick spread. Marmalade is used in dessert recipes and also used as a spread on bread. Orange marmalade made with Seville oranges is a popular marmalade.

marshmallow – A confection made with a mixture of gelatin, sugar, corn syrup, and flavoring that is cooked and beaten into a fluffy, spongy consistency. Marshmallows are often used in baking and candy making and are a traditional addition to hot cocoa. See recipe for Marshmallows.

marzipan – A confection made with a cooked mixture of sugar, egg whites, and ground almonds. Marzipan can also be easily tinted with food color to use as decorations on cakes or cupcakes. Marzipan is delicious to eat as is, or formed into small candies, or made into treats such as wrapping around nuts or dried fruits, and dipping into chocolate. Marzipan is also commonly rolled out and used to cover cakes or fruitcakes. See recipe for Marzipan.

mascarpone – A rich, thick, cows’ milk cheese with a sweet taste and the texture of sour cream. Mascarpone is often served with fresh fruit, used in place of whipping cream, and can be used in place of cream cheese. See recipe for Mascarpone Frosting.

mazurka – A Russian Easter dessert made with eggs, sugar or honey, lemon juice and lemon zest and finely ground hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds. Before serving the Mazurka it topped with sweetened whipped cream. See recipe for Russian Mazurka.

measure – Determining a specific amount of an ingredient, usually done with measuring cups and measuring spoons.

measuring tools – Good quality measuring spoons and cups or a scale is a must for baking. Baking is a precise science and all measuring should be precise to ensure successful baking.
Measuring Spoons:

Basic measuring spoon sets include measures for 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, and 1 tablespoon. Larger measuring spoon sets may also include 1/8 teaspoon, 3/4 teaspoon, and 1/2 tablespoon. My favorite measuring spoons are stainless steel as they have sharp precise edges and provide the most accurate measuring.

Measuring spoons are used for measuring small amounts of ingredients such as spices, leaveners, and extracts, and very small amounts of liquids. Pour liquids, such as vanilla extract, to the rim of the spoon; level dry ingredients, such as salt or baking soda with a straightedge. It’s helpful to have two sets of measuring spoons so you don’t have to wash and dry the spoons to measure multiple ingredients. Shop for measuring spoons.

Dry Measuring Cups: Basic dry measuring cups are purchased in a set that includes 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup. Larger measuring cup sets may also include 1/8 cup, 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup and 1½ cup measures. A dry measuring cup does not have a pouring spout; instead they should have a straight edge to allow for easy leveling. Dry measuring cups are used to measure all dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, and oats, also for semisolid ingredients such as jam, shortening, sour cream, and peanut butter.

When measuring, add the ingredient into the measuring cup so that it is mounded and overfull, and then level it off by sweeping a straight edge, such as a metal ruler or knife, across the top of the measuring cup, leveling off the ingredient. My favorite measuring cups are stainless steel as they are the most durable and have the best edges; however you may also find acrylic cups you prefer. It’s helpful to have two sets of measuring cups so you don’t have to wash and dry the cups to measure multiple ingredients. Shop for dry measuring cups.

Liquid Measuring Cups: All liquid ingredients, such as water, milk, or juice are measured in a liquid measuring cup. Liquid measuring cups should be made of clear glass or plastic, have a pouring spout, and have clear measurement markings on the side. It is handy to have a 1 cup measure, along with a 2 cup and 4 cup measure for most baking projects. Liquid measuring cups are also handy for warming milk or melting butter in the microwave. To accurately measure, place the measuring cup on a flat surface and pour the liquid in up to the marking for the amount you need. Let the liquid stop swishing around to determine the level it is at. Shop for liquid measuring cups.

Ruler: An everyday 18 inch clear plastic, metal, or wood ruler is a helpful tool for measuring pans, measuring rolled pastry dough, cutting bar cookies into uniform sizes, as a guide when splitting cakes into equal layers, or measuring 1 inch cuts for cinnamon rolls. The ruler also provides a neat, straight cutting edge and is easy to wash.

Scales: Professional bakers use scales to weigh ingredients instead of using measuring cups to measure by volume, for the simple reason that weight measurements are more precise and accurate. Scales are used to measure dry ingredients, along with nuts, dried and fresh fruits, and chocolate, and to measure out portions of dough. The scale is also helpful to determine if multiple cake pans have the same amount of batter.

There are two types of scales, digital and mechanical, with digital scales being the most accurate. A thin, battery powered digital scale with a flat platform for weighing is affordable and is the easiest to use for most home bakers. Look for a scale that measures up to about 10 pounds, has an automatic shut-off that will remain on for at least 5 minutes, has a “tare” button to reset the scale to zero in order to measure the next ingredient, and the ability to change from pounds and ounces to metric. In addition, all the buttons and controls should be on the front of the scale, not the bottom or the back of the scale. Shop for kitchen scales.

melba sauce – Sweetened raspberry puree, traditionally used as a topping for Peach Melba dessert, but is also delicious as a topping for pound cake and ice cream.

melon baller – Melon ballers come in a variety of sizes, used for creating melon balls for fruit salads. However this little tool doesn’t stop there. It is also great for coring apples and pears, forming small chocolate candies such as truffles, and shaping small balls of cookie dough. Shop for mellon ballers.

melting moments – A British small round cookie that has a rich buttery taste that almost “melts in your mouth.” The cookie is formed into balls and rolled in crushed cornflakes or sweetened coconut and topped with a candied cherry or slice of angelica.

meringue – Egg whites and sugar that are whipped together until firm, or until stiff peaks form. Meringue is used as a topping on pie, such as Lemon Meringue Pie, formed into a shell to hold fillings, piped into discs and baked, formed into shapes such as meringue mushrooms, and even baked with cake batter to form a sweet topping. See recipes for Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake, Strawberry Meringue Cake. See Making Meringue.

meringue powder – A dried egg-white based powder that is used as a replacement for fresh egg whites when making meringue and royal icing. See recipe for Royal Icing. Shop for meringue powder.

mesh strainer or colander – Also known as a sieve, these mesh bowls are used to strain liquids and sift flour, confectioner’s sugar, and other dry ingredients. Finely woven mesh strainers are good for flours and fruit purees, and larger coarse strainers are used for larger particle ingredients. It’s helpful to have both types of sizes. A fine mesh sieve can be used to remove lumps from cooked fillings, or to sift ingredients (such as flour) into a recipe, or to sprinkle ingredients such as confectioner’s sugar or cocoa over baked goods. Shop for sieves and colanders.

metal spatulas – Nothing works better for removing baked cookies from a cookie sheet than a thin metal spatula. Choose one that is wide enough to slip under the cookies, a 2½ or 3 inch width is a good size for most baking needs. Shop for metal spatulas.

Mexican chocolate – A sweet chocolate flavored with cinnamon and a hint of almond flavor. Shop for Mexican chocolate.

Mexican wedding cake – Also called Russian Teacake Cookies, Italian Butter Nut Cookies, Butterballs, and Snowballs. These cookies are rich with butter and nuts, rolled in confectioners’ sugar immediately after baking and then again when cooled, and seem to melt in your mouth. See recipe for Russian Teacake Cookies.

milk chocolate – The sweetest of all chocolates, milk chocolate is made with chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, lecithin, and vanilla flavor. Shop for milk chocolate.

mince – To cut food into very small fine pieces, less than 1/8 inch. For example orange or lemon zest may be minced, or cut into very small pieces.

mincemeat – A rich fruit mixture made with finely chopped apples, raisins, candied citrus peel, nuts, brown sugar, spices, rum or brandy, and beef suet. Original recipes used lean beef that was minced; modern versions are typically made without any meat or beef suet. Mincemeat is used as a filling cakes and cookies, but is probably best known as a filling for mincemeat traditionally served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. See recipe for Mincemeat Drops with Rum Frosting.

mise en place – A French term meaning “everything in its place” referring to having all ingredients and tools prepared and ready to use before starting the project. When baking, all ingredients should be measured and brought to room temperature when necessary, all tools and equipment laid out and ready to use, and the oven turned on and pre-heated.

mix – To stir two or more ingredients together until blended.

mixer – an electrical appliance used to combine and beat ingredients. A stand mixer normally has a dough hook, whisk, and paddle attachment to accommodate most mixing needs. Shop for electric mixers.

mixing bowls – A good set of mixing bowls will be your constant companion while baking, used for mixing, whipping creams or egg whites, preparing ingredients, raising breads, or just storing food in the refrigerator.

My favorite bowls are a set of clear glass nesting bowls, providing several sizes to choose from depending on the task at hand, and with several bowls you don’t have to wash and reuse the same bowl as often. Glass bowls are also microwave safe and can be used on top of a double boiler. Have at least one small, one medium, and one large mixing bowl, and having two of each is even better. Having one extra-small and one extra-large bowls are also useful to have.

Stainless steel bowls are another good all-around choice; they are lightweight, durable, and can be heated, but can tend to dent easily and are not microwave safe.

Crockery bowls are very attractive, and normally oven-safe, however they are heavier and can chip if you’re not careful with them.

Copper bowls are beautiful and expensive. However no bowl is better for beating egg whites into meringue. A chemical reaction occurs between the egg protein and the copper, giving the egg whites greater volume and stability than when they are beaten in a stainless steel or other bowl. Copper is often used when making candy and sugars since it is an excellent conductor of heat.

Acrylic bowls come in fun colors, and are lightweight, but are probably not micro-wave safe.

Plastic bowls and aluminum bowls are the least desirable. Plastic will absorb odors and fat which can transfer into your ingredients. Aluminum bowls will react to acidic foods to impart a metal taste. Shop for mixing bowls.

ml – The abbreviation for milliliter.

mm – The abbreviation for millimeter.

mocha – A flavor combination of coffee and chocolate.

modeling chocolate – Also called plastic chocolate, this is melted chocolate with corn syrup added to make a firm, flexible dough-like texture that can be molded into shapes and decorations such as flowers.

moisten – To add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients until just slightly wet.

molasses – When sugarcane is processed the sugar crystals are moved, leaving the sugarcane juice called molasses. The juice is boiled is stages resulting in different grades of molasses. The first boiling produces light molasses with the mildest flavor; the second boiling produces dark molasses with a richer flavor but less sweet than light molasses, and the third boiling produces the darkest molasses with a bitter flavor, also known as blackstrap molasses. Molasses is a popular sweetened used in baking such as gingerbread, gingerbread cookies, and molasses cookies. See recipe for Molasses Spice Cookies.

molded cookie – Cookies that are formed by pressing the dough into a mold to form the shape.

monkey bread – A sweet yeast bread made by forming the dough into small balls that are rolled in butter and sugar and arranged in a cake pan. As the bread rises and bakes the balls into a loaf. To serve the pieces can be pulled off with your fingers to eat, or sliced into pieces. The origin and name of Monkey Bread is not agreed upon. Theories include the fact that you can pull it apart with your hands; it takes a bit of “monkeying around” to prepare the bread; the bread resembles the monkey puzzle tree. See recipe for Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread.

moon cake – A Chinese cake with a round moon shape and filled with a sweet black bean or lotus paste, or a mixture of pickled melon and nuts.

moon pie – A cake like cookie made with two round graham crackers sandwiched together with a marshmallow cream filling, and then the cookie is dipped and covered with chocolate.

mortar and pestle – A mortar is a small, round, heavy bowl; a pestle is a round headed crusher that fits inside the bowl, used for grinding spices and seeds. Most mortar and pestles are made of marble with an unglazed finish, providing a heavy stone surface for grinding. Shop for mortar and pestles.

mousse – Soft, light, and creamy mixtures made with melted chocolate or fruit purees beaten with egg whites and sugar. Gelatin may be added to help the mixture set. Mousses are generally served chilled. Mousse is the French word for “froth” or “foam.”

mousse cake – A rich, flourless cake that is baked in a water bath, similar to custard. The dessert is chilled and then unmolded before serving.

muffin – A small sweet or savory quick bread, leavened with baking powder or baking soda, often made with fruits or nuts, and baked in a muffin pan to form the shape. See recipe for Blueberry Orange Muffins.

muffin and cupcake pans – Muffin pans are a rectangular metal baking pan with six or twelve cup, used to bake both muffins and cupcakes. Muffin pan sizes are typically mini, standard, and jumbo sized. Each cup is normally lined with paper baking cups, and then filled with muffin or cake batter. Muffin pans can also be used to bake dinner rolls or individual brownies. Shop for muffin and cupcake pans.

A standard muffin pan has 12 cups, each measuring about 2¾ inches at the top and 1-3/8 inches deep. Mini muffin pans normally have either 12 or 24 cups and measure about 1¾ inch across the top and ¾ inch deep. Jumbo muffin pans normally have 6 cups, and measure 3-3/8 inches across the top and 1¾ inches deep.

Muffin pans are traditionally made of metal; most common are aluminum pans; however flexible silicone pans are now available.

muscovado sugar – Also known as Barbados sugar, a dark brown sugar that is very moist and a strong molasses flavor.

nanaimo bar – A Canadian pastry that consists of three layers. The bottom layer is a graham cracker cookie crust with chocolate, coconut, butter, sugar, and walnuts. The middle layer is vanilla, mint, or chocolate flavored custard or buttercream. The dessert is topped with a third layer of dark chocolate.

Napoleon – A French pastry made with layers of puff pastry and cream, jam, or other filling. The pastry is topped with confectioners’ sugar or white fondant with a dark chocolate spider web design.

Nesselrode pudding – A sweet pudding made with custard, chestnut puree, candied fruit, currants, golden raisins, and whipped cream.

non-stick baking mat – Non-stick baking mats, normally made of silicon, are truly remarkable. The most widely known name brand is Silpat. No longer do you need to grease a cookie sheet, instead line the pan with a non-stick baking mat and your cookies will just slide off the mat and not stick. These mats are easy to clean in warm soapy water, and will last for years. Shop for non-stick baking mats.

nonpareils – Also called jimmies and sprinkles. Nonpareils are tiny pieces of sugar candy, normally round or elongated, coated in a chocolate or a colored sugar topping. They are commonly used to decorate the tops of cakes, cookies, and pastries. Shop for sprinkles and nonpareils.

nougat – A confection made from a cooked sugar mixture, with honey, beaten egg whites, nuts, and candied fruits. See recipe for Nougat.

nougatine – A French confection made with almonds or hazelnuts and a cooked sugar syrup. The mixture is rolled out while still warm and cut into decorative shapes. The confection can be eaten as is, or crushed and used as a flavoring in buttercream, ice cream, and pastries.

Nutella – A commercial sweet spread made with hazelnuts, sugar, cocoa, and oil.

nutmeg – The seed from a tropical evergreen tree that is native to the Spice Islands in Indonesia. The flesh surrounding the seed is ground to make another spice, mace. The nutmeg is ground to use in baking as a flavoring in cakes, pies, breads, and cookies, adding a spicy, slightly sweet flavor. Shop for nutmeg.

oats – A processed grain. Oats are processed into many forms, including quick oats, long cooking oats, rolled oats, oat bran, and oat flour. Oats are a common ingredient used in baking and are sometimes substituted for flour.

oatmeal cookies – A popular old-fashioned drop cookie made with oatmeal, along with raisins commonly added to the cookie dough for extra sweetness. See recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

obsttorte – A German torte made with a sponge cake that is filled with pastry cream and fresh or candied fruit. The torte is covered with almond meringue and garnished with toasted almonds.

offset spatula – An offset spatula has a long, narrow, flexible stainless steel blade that allows easy frosting of cakes. You can easily spread frosting or whipped cream around the sides of the cake with this spatula, and it is flexible enough to use to create fanciful frosting swirls on top. A small offset spatula is good for frosting cupcakes or cookies. Shop for offset spatulas.

oliebollen – A Dutch dessert served at Christmastime. The dessert is a rich fried doughnut filled with a spiced apple mixture and rolled in sugar.

one-bowl method – A mixing method where all the ingredients are combined in one bowl, and normally mixed together all the same time in one step.

opera torte – A French torte made with thin alternating layers of sponge cake brushed with coffee syrup, chocolate ganache, and coffee flavored buttercream. The top is covered with chocolate ganache, and the sides are sliced off to expose the layers.

orange – A round citrus fruit. Oranges have a thick orange rind and a sweet-tart segmented fruit. Orange and orange flavorings are a commonly used in baking. The peel can be removed and discarded, but it is also edible. The peel of citrus fruits is often candied. See recipe for Candied Lemon Peel.

orange liqueur – An orange flavored clear alcohol that is used in cocktails, and often used as an orange flavoring in baking. A lower grade of orange liqueur is normally sold as Triple Sec, and higher grades as Curacao, Grand Marnier, and Cointreau.

orangeat – A petit four made with almond paste mixed with candied orange pieces. The petit four is covered with fondant and garnished with a piece of candied orange peel.

orange flower water – A clear, sweet, fragrant liquid distilled from orange blossoms, used as a flavoring in desserts, pastries, and confections. Orange flower water is very concentrated and only a small amount is needed to impart the flavor.

orgeat syrup – A sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and orange flower water. Orgeat syrup is primarily an almond flavor used in cocktails and confections.

othello – A small sponge cake filled with chocolate pastry cream, brushed with apricot glaze, and covered with chocolate fondant. The cake is named for the character Othello the Moor in Shakespeare’s Othello.

ounce – A volume measurement equivalent to 2 tablespoons or 1/8 cup.

oven thermometer – An oven thermometer is useful for checking the accuracy of your oven. You can also move the thermometer to different positions in your oven to check for hot spots. An oven thermometer should be a mercury thermometer that either hangs or sits on the rack. Check the temperature after you have preheated the oven, then adjust the heat up or down as needed if the actual temperature varies from the original setting. Shop for oven thermometers.

oz – The abbreviation for ounce.

packed – When measuring brown sugar, spoon the sugar into a dry measuring cup, pressing down firmly to compact the sugar.pain au chocolat – A French dessert made from croissant dough cut into a rectangle, rolled around a bar of dark chocolate, and then baked.

palmier – Crisp butter strips of puff pastry rolled to resemble a palm leaf. The pastry is topped with sugar that caramelizes as it bakes.

pandowdy – A New England deep dish dessert made with fruit, usually apples, butter, brown sugar or molasses, and spices and topped with a biscuit like dough, and then baked. Halfway through the baking time a technique called “dowdying” is used, where the crust is broken up and pressed down into the fruit to absorb the juices and become crispy. Pandowdy is served warm with sweetened whipped cream, ice cream, or hard sauce.

panettone – Traditional Italian sweet rich yeast bread made with dried fruits and baked in a tall cylindrical shape. Panettone is a traditional Christmas bread but is also served for other festive occasions. See recipe for Panettone.

panettone mold – Panettone is normally baked in a paper panettone mold. It is the perfect way to bake, serve, and give as a gift all in one. Panettone is sweet, yeast-risen bread, filled with raisins and candied peels that are a Christmas specialty of Milan, Italy. It has a tall cylindrical shape with a domed top, and is eaten as a breakfast bread, afternoon tea, or dessert. Shop for panettone molds.

panforte – An Italian confection loaded with honey, nuts, dried fruit, and spices is a cross between a cake, a fruitcake, and a candy. The texture is heavy and dense, chewy and a little sticky; the taste is sweet and spicy, nutty and fruity; it is oh-so delicious and easy to make. Panforte doesn’t really have a chocolate flavor, but the cocoa imparts a dark rich color. Panforte is baked in a round pan lined with edible rice paper, edible wheat starch paper, or parchment paper.

Panforte is a traditional Italian Christmas confection, originating in Siena Italy, sometime in the 13th century. The word panforte means ‘strong bread’, either due to the spices used or the dense texture. Some say that traditional Panforte has 17 ingredients, one for each of the 17 districts of Siena. See recipe for Panforte Di Siena.

panna cotta – An Italian custard dessert, heated just enough to dissolve the sugar, and lightened with gelatin. The custard is poured into molds and chilled, than unmolded to serve. Panna Cotta is often served with fruit sauce or a chocolate sauce.

parchment paper – Parchment paper, also known as baking paper, is a baker’s secret weapon. Parchment paper is used to line baking sheets before baking cookies, ensuring cookies that won’t stick to the pan, lining cake pans to allow cakes to slide right out of the pan, and for folding into cones for piping icing or chocolate. Use a sheet of parchment paper to cover your work surface to make cleanup easier. After using a piece of parchment paper, simply throw it away.

Parchment paper is coated with silicone, making it greaseproof, moisture resistant, and nonstick. It is reusable for some baking projects, especially when lining a baking pan and baking batches of cookies. Parchment paper is sold in sheets sized for half sheets 13 x 18 inch, and full sheets 18 x 26 inch, precut triangle to make pastry cones or rolls so you can determine the size you want to tear off and use. Shop for parchment paper.

pare – To remove the stem and outer layer of a fruit or vegetable with a paring knife or peeler.

parfait – An ice cream dessert layered with flavored syrup and sometimes whole fruits such as strawberry or other berries, and topped with sweetened whipped cream, nuts, and a maraschino cherry. Parfaits are normally served is a tall fluted glass.

Paris-Brest – A classic French pastry made from choux pastry that is formed into a large ring, brushed with an egg wash and topped with sliced almonds, then baked until golden brown. When the pastry is cool it is split in half and filled with praline buttercream, then the pastry is topped with confectioners’ sugar. Paris Brest is made to resemble a bicycle wheel to commemorate an 1891 bicycle race between the French cities of Paris and Brest.

pastillage – A white pliable pastry dough made with confectioners’ sugar, water, cornstarch, and gelatin. Pastillage may be colored with food coloring, and is used to make decorations and figures. Although made with edible ingredients it dries rock-hard and is not intended for eating.

pastry – A baked item made with dough that generally consists of butter, flour, water, and sometimes eggs and sugar. Pastry can be used to make sweet or savory items.

pastry bag – Pastry bags and decorating tips are used to pipe decorative borders of icing or chocolate onto cakes and cookies, or for pressing out small cookies or chocolate shapes.

Pastry bags are available in plastic lined canvas that is reusable, or disposable bags made of parchment or plastic. Icing is spooned into the bag, and then squeezed out through a decorative metal tip attached to the end of the bag. Reusable pastry bags should be washed in warm, soapy water and dried completely before storing. For very small amounts of frosting or chocolate, you can also use a small resealable plastic bag with a very small piece of the corner snipped off. Shop for pastry bags.

pastry blender – A pastry blender, also known as a dough blender, is used to cut butter or other fat into dry ingredients, such as when making piecrust, scones, or biscuits. A pastry blender has stainless steel wires shaped into a half-moon, with a stainless or wooden handle for gripping. In place of a pastry blender, two kitchen knives also work well for cutting the ingredients together. Shop for pastry blenders.

pastry brush – Pastry brushes are used to brush liquid type ingredients onto pastries or breads. For example use a pastry brush to brush butter onto a hot loaf of bread, or an egg wash onto bagels, or milk onto a pie crust, or to wash down the sides of a saucepan when melting and caramelizing sugar. A pastry brush is even helpful for brushing excess flour from dough during rolling, and brushing up spilled flour on the kitchen counter. Choose a high quality brush with either natural bristles or silicone bristles that are securely attached to the handle. High quality pastry brushes are easy to clean with soap and water and should last for years. Shop for pastry brushes.

pastry board and pastry mat – Use a wooden pastry board to roll out perfectly shaped pie crusts, pizza crust, sugar cookies, or bread dough. Some boards are marked with measurements guides so you can roll out the exact dimension you need.

Marble is the best surface for rolling dough and pastry, as the marble keeps the dough cool. On hot days, you can quickly cool the marble down by placing a bag of ice on the surface for 15 minutes before working with your dough. Marble boards or slabs normally have small feet on the underside to protect your counter top from scratches. Marble is heavy and generally more expensive, but worth the investment for serious bakers.

Pastry mats are a non-stick surface that easily releases the dough. Pastry mats are thin, lightweight, and easy to clean and store. Shop for pastry boards and pastry mats.

pastry chef – The person responsible for the production of all pastry and desserts in a kitchen, as well as managing the pastry kitchen and its staff.

pastry cloth – A large piece of lightweight canvas used as a surface for rolling out pastry dough. The cloth is rubbed with flour before rolling to make a non-stick surface. Shop for pastry cloth.

pastry cream – rich cooked custard made with eggs, milk, sugar, flour, and normally a vanilla bean for flavoring, then chilled before using. Pastry cream may also be flavored with other flavors such as chocolate, coffee, fruit purees, or liqueurs. Pastry cream is used as a filling for éclairs, Napoleons, cakes, and other desserts. See recipe for Pastry Cream.

pastry crimper – A pastry crimper is a small, stainless steel tweezer with serrated tips. It is used to seal the top and bottom crust of a pie together, or to decoratively finish the edge of a single-crust pie or tart pastry shell. Shop for pastry crimpers.

pastry cutters – Similar to cookie cutters, pastry cutter are normally very small, less than 2 inches in size, and are used to cut shapes such as leaves or fruits from pie crust to decorate the top of a pie. The cut-out shapes can be laid directly on the filling, or placed on the top crust, or around the edge of the pie. Shop for pastry cutters.

pastry docker - A pastry docker is a cylinder, about 5 inches long, with sharp spikes at ½ inch intervals around the surface. It is used to poke holes in pastry doughs, such as pie dough or puff pastry. In place of a pastry docker a fork can also be used. Shop for pastry dockers.

pastry scraper – A plastic pastry scraper is a piece of flexible plastic that fits in the palm of your hand and allows you to easily scrape batter from a bowl or dough bits off your rolling pin. A pastry scraper is also good for cleaning stuck-on food from pans.

pastry tip – Also called decorating tips, are available in a huge array of designs and sizes. They are made of stainless steel or chrome-plated, and placed in the small end of the pastry bag. When the icing is pushed through it forms the design of the tip. Use a coupler (a plastic ring) when you want to change to different tips using the same icing without first having to empty and clean the pastry bag. Pastry tips should be washed in warm, soapy water and dried completely before storing. Shop for decorating tips.

pastry wheel – A pastry wheel is used to cut strips of pastry, such as for making a lattice top pie crust, or pieces of dough for turnovers or ravioli. Pastry wheels may have a smooth blade or have a jagged or fluted edged blade. Shop for pastry wheels.

pâte à choux – The French term for cream puff pastry, also called choux pastry. Classic pastry dough that is first cooked in a pan on the stove top then baked in the oven. The pastry is made with water or milk, butter, and flour that are cooked together then slightly cooled. Eggs are then beaten in to create a pastelike dough. The dough is piped with a pastry bag to form various shapes, then baked. After the shapes are baked and cooled they are normally filled with sweetened whipped cream or pastry cream. Choux pastry is used to make classic pastries such as cream puffs, croquembouche, éclairs, and profiteroles. See recipe for pâte à choux.

pâte brisée  – This is the French term for “broken dough.” A shortcrust pastry referring to broken pieces of butter or other fat that is cut into the dough. The dough is made with flour, a small amount of sugar, salt, and chilled butter and must rest and chill a few hours before using so that a minimal amount of flour is needed when rolling out so the pastry doesn’t become tough.

pâte sablée  – This is the French term for “sand dough” referring to a sweet, rich, crumbly dough. The dough made with flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla or lemon extract, and used for tarts and tartlets and sometimes as cookie dough. The pastry is fragile and crumbly and must rest and chill a few hours before using so that a minimal amount of flour is needed when rolling out so the pastry doesn’t become tough.

pâte sucrée  – This is the French term for “sugar dough” referring to a sweet, rich, crisp dough. The dough made with flour, granulated sugar, salt, butter, eggs, and vanilla, used for tarts, tartlets, and pies. The pastry must rest and chill a few hours before using so that a minimal amount of flour is needed when rolling out so the pastry doesnt become tough.

pâtisserie – A French word with three meanings; pastry shop, the art of pastry making, and the category of sweet and savory pastries.

patty cake – A small round individual sized butter cake that is split in half and filled with jam and topped with buttercream or fondant icing. An old nursery rhyme refers to patty cakes. “Patty cake, patty cake, bakers man, bake me a cake as fast as you can…”

Pavlova – An Australian pastry from a baked meringue shell with a crisp exterior and soft chewy interior, and then filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit. See recipe for Mini Pavlovas with Lemon and Blueberries.

peach Melba – A fruit dessert made with pitted peach halves poached in syrup and cooled. The peaches are served over scoops of vanilla ice cream, and drizzled with Melba sauce made from pureed raspberries, and topped with whipped cream and sliced almonds.

peanut butter cookie – A soft chewy cookie made flavored with peanut butter. The top of the cookie has a criss cross pattern formed by pressing the tines of a fork into the dough before baking. See recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies.

pearl dust – Also called luster dust. Pearl dust is a colored, edible dusting powder that gives a pearlescent sheen, and is often used in cake decorating. The dust may be sprinkled on dry, or mixed with a clear alcohol, such as gin or vodka to create a liquid decoration that can be painted, using a small artist paintbrush.

pecan – The fruit of the pecan tree. Pecans are widely used in baking. Pecans have a rich buttery flavor that is enhanced by toasting. Shop for pecans.

pecan pie – From the American south, pecan pie has become an American favorite and a traditional pie at Thanksgiving. Sinfully rich, it is made with butter, eggs, sugar, and lots of pecans. Pecan pie is normally made as a single-crust pie, baked to golden brown, and served with sweetened whipped cream. See recipe for Pecan Pie.

pectin – A natural gelling agent present in some fruits that thickens the fruit mixture when making jam and jelly. Some fruits have quite a bit of natural pectin such as apples, quinces, currants, oranges, and lemons. Fruits low in natural pectin include strawberries and peaches and requires additional pectin to be added for jam and jelly.

Peeps – A marshmallow confection that is a popular Easter treat. Peeps come in many shapes and colors. See recipe for Marshmallow Peeps.

peel – Cutting away the outer layer of a food. For example the outer skin of an apple, or the hard outer layer of an orange. Also refers to the outer lay of a citrus fruit.

peel - A peel is a wide, flat, usually long-handled wooden board, used to slide yeast breads, flatbreads, and pizza onto a baking stone in a hot oven. Shop for peels.

penuche – A sweet confection, much like fudge, but without any chocolate. Penuche is made with milk or cream, butter, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and nuts. See recipe for Penuche.

pepita – Pepitas are pumpkin seeds. When seeds are fresh from a pumpkin, each green seed is encased in a beige, slightly tough but edible hull. When the hull is removed, the dark green seed is revealed. Pepitas have a deliciously delicate nutty flavor, which is even better when the seeds are roasted and salted. See recipe for Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake.

Pepitas are sold and with or without hulls, salted and unsalted. Look for hulled pepitas in many grocery stores and natural food stores. I recommend buying pepitas already hulled; you can hull the seeds yourself by cracking and peeling off the hulls, but this is a tedious task.

petit four – Petit four is an individual-sized cake that is iced and decorated, but small pastries, tarts, sugar coated fruits, cookies, and confections are also considered petit fours. Petit fours are typically though of as small fancy cakes covered with icing or fondant icing, and decorated with piped icings, sugar flowers, or other decorations.

Petit four is the French word for “small oven.” Dating back to the 18th century, small cakes would be baked at a lower temperature, placed in the oven after baking the larger cakes while the oven was cooling down but still warm enough to bake a petit sized cake.

pfeffernusse – A German spicy Christmas cookie, also known as Peppernuts. The Peppernut name is in part because the cookies are small, brown, and crunchy like nuts, also due to the combination of pepper and spices that give the cookie a slight peppery bite. Original Pfeffernuesse is made without butter, but modern recipes use a small amount of butter for a softer texture and better flavor. See recipe for Pfeffernusse.

phyllo dough – Also known as filo or filo dough is papery thin sheets of dough made from flour and water. Phyllo dough is used to make many Greek and Middle Eastern pastries, including the Greek pastry baklava. Shredded phyllo dough is called kataifi. See recipes for Baklava, Kataifi Cheesecake Nests.

pie – A pastry made with a sweet or savory filling. Pie may have only a bottom pastry, or the filling may be covered with a top pastry. Pie is normally baked in a pie pan which may be shallow or deep dish. Sweet pies are filled with numerous ingredients including fruit, custards, chocolate, and nuts, and may be left uncovered, or topped with a pastry crust or other things such as meringue or strudel. See Pie Recipes.

pie bird – Pie birds are an old-fashioned way of venting a pie to allow the steam and bubbling juices to escape from the pie while baking. Pie birds are ceramic figurines placed in a cutout portion of the top pie pastry. Not really very practical, it is easier to just slash or cut vents in the pie pastry before baking to accomplish the same task. Shop for pie birds.

pie pan – Most pie recipes are written for a 9 inch pie, and the pie pastry and ingredients will normally fit in a 9 x 1½ inch Pie Pan, such as a Pyrex pan with ovenproof glass. Ovenproof glass pie pans are about the best for baking pies as they are an excellent heat conductor, they allow the bottom crust to brown well, the transparency of the glass allows you to see how the crust is browning, the surface is not marred when cutting with a knife, and they are easy to clean.
Ceramic and stoneware pie pans are beautiful to use and serve from, and the many colors available make them fun to use for holidays and attractive when serving guests.

If using a metal pan, aluminum with a dull satin finish is the best for conducting heat. These pans are not as pretty; however they will not break if dropped. Dark metals can cause the crusts to over-brown and their coated surface can be marred with a knife.

Disposable aluminum pans are inexpensive and handy for freezing and gift-giving, but the thin construction makes these pans a poor heat conductor.

Many ceramic and stoneware pans are available in deep dish, and are used when you have a larger quantity of pie filling. The fluted tops enable you to create a beautiful edge with minimal effort. Shop for pie pans.

pie weight – When making a blind baked pie crust, pie weights, which are small reusable ceramic balls about the size of marbles, are poured into the pastry lined pie pan before baking to prevent the pastry from puffing up and shrinking. In place of ceramic pie weights, you can also line the pastry with parchment paper and then fill with dried beans or uncooked rice.

A pie chain is a beaded chain that you coil onto the unbaked pastry. After baking, use tongs or a fork to list the hot chain out. A pie chain should be 6 or 10 feet long to completely cover the pastry. Shop for pie weights.

piecrust shield – The edges of a pie are the most susceptible to burning as a pie bakes. A piecrust shield is a lightweight aluminum ring that is placed around the edge of the pie to prevent the edges from over baking. In place of a piecrust shield, strips of aluminum foil work just as well. Shop for pie crust shields.

pinch – A very small amount of an ingredient, usually salt or other spices, held between your thumb and first finger. This is a measurement that does not use a measuring spoon, therefore is not accurate or consistent, and is less than 1/8 teaspoon. For example, adding a pinch of salt.

piping – Soft food, such as frosting, chocolate, or whipped cream, that is put in a pastry bag and forced out of the small end to make decorative designs on food. For example, decorate cakes or cookies with frosting. Normally a decorating tip is placed in the end of the pastry bag to pipe designs, or use for decorative writing.

pizza cutter - A pizza cutter, also known as a pizza wheel, is not only used to cut baked pizza, it is also a great tool for cutting bar cookies, cutting unbaked dough into smaller pieces, or thin strips of pastry for a lattice pie crust. A pizza cutter consists of a sharp metal disk attached to a handle, with a hand guard in-between to protect your fingers. Shop for pizza cutters.

pizzelle – A cookie made on a pizzelle iron, similar to a waffle iron. The pizzelle iron has intricately carved design with imprints into the cookie as it cooks. Pizzelles are made with a batter of eggs, sugar, butter, flour, and vanilla. After they are baked and still warm they are rolled into a cone shape which is then filled with sweetened whipped cream.

plastic chocolate – Also called modeling chocolate, this is melted chocolate with corn syrup added to make a firm, flexible dough-like texture that can be molded into shapes and decorations such as flowers.

plum pudding – An English steamed pudding that was originally made with plums. Later versions include other dried fruit, nuts, and spices. Plum pudding is a traditional Christmas dessert, also known as Christmas pudding that is flamed with brandy and served warm with a hard sauce.

Plump – Making food soft and round. For example, soaking dried raisins in water until they become softened.

popover – A puffy muffin sized quick bread with a crisp brown crust and moist interior. Popovers are made with a batter of eggs, milk, butter, and flour and baked at high heat. The liquid creates steam which makes the popovers rise high.

popover pan – Popover pans have deep, narrow cups, which force the popover batter to rise up and out, producing the typical tall popover shape. Popover pans made of a dark metal produce the best crust with a golden brown color. A muffin pan may be substituted; however the finished popovers will not be as tall. Shop for popover pans.

pot de crème – The French word for “pot of cream.” This is a rich, creamy custard baked and served in small individual sized ramekins.

pot holders and oven mitts – A pot holder or oven mitt is a must when removing hot pans from the oven. A kitchen towel does not provide enough protection and will likely result in a bad burn. Potholders and mitts are normally made from quilted cotton, thick terrycloth, or silicone. Shop for pot holders and oven mitts.

pound cake – This cake originated from the original recipe which used a pound each of butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. Originally the butter and sugar were beaten for long periods to incorporate air into the butter and sugar so the cakes would rise and baked in a loaf shape. Modern versions of pound cakes use varying quantities of ingredients and have leavening such as baking powder or baking soda added, but they still start with creaming the butter and sugar. Pound cakes today come in many varieties; including cakes made with fruit, chocolate, and nuts and are still traditionally baked in a loaf shape but may also be baked in tube shaped or other cake pans. See recipe for Old Fashioned Pound Cake.

poured fondant – A shiny, pourable sugar icing traditionally used to cover petit fours, and also makes a lovely glaze for cakes and cupcakes. It can be applied, as the name implies, by simply pouring over a cake and letting it drip down the sides. Many small cakes, such as petit fours or cupcakes can just be dipped in the fondant.

Poured fondant is made by gently heating previously made and cured fondant, along with simple sugar syrup, until it dissolves and becomes pourable. The poured fondant can be flavored with extracts or oil flavors, and tinted any number of beautiful colors using food coloring. See recipe for Poured Fondant.

praline – A sweet confection made with pecans, and caramelized brown sugar poured into small round flat patties. Pralines are a specialty of Louisiana. See recipe for Pecan Pralines.

preheat – Warming an oven to the desired temperature before baking.

preserves – A thick fruit spread, made from whole or coarsely chopped fruit, sugar, and sometimes pectin for thickening. Preserves are usually cooked, but may be uncooked. Preserves are used as a spread on bread, and may also be used a sweet filling or glaze for cakes, cookies, and pastries.

press – Forming dough into a shape. For example forming cookies when the dough is forced through a cookie press, or using your fingers to pat and spread cookie dough in the bottom of a baking pan.

prick – Putting small holes in pastry with a fork to prevent bubbles from forming when baked. For example prick pie pastry when pre-baking and pie filling will be added after the pastry is baked. Pie pastry is not pricked if the pastry and filling will be baked together at the same time.

princess cake – A Swedish dome shaped sponge cake layered with whipped cream and custard and covered with marzipan. The cake is often decorated with marzipan flowers, and served at festive or celebratory occasions.

profiterole – Small cream puff pastries that are filled with crème Chantilly, ice cream, or pastry cream. They are typically stacked in a small pyramid shape and served covered with chocolate sauce. Profiteroles are used to make the classic croquembouche dessert, a tall pyramid shaped dessert.

proof – Causing yeast to become active by adding water and sugar. This is the fermentation process that occurs in bread making where the yeast grows and produces carbon dioxide gas that inflates the dough. Proofing also refers to testing the yeast to determine if it is alive. The yeast is sprinkled over a warm liquid such as water or milk; after 5 or 10 minutes if the mixture bubbles and foams the yeast is active.

puff pastry – A rich flaky pastry made with a large amount of butter. The pastry is made by rolling and folding several times creating thin layers of pastry and butter. When the pastry bakes the butter melts and along with the water used in the dough produces steam, causing the pastry to rise into high crisp flaky layers.

pumpkin pie – A classic American pie made with a single crust and a smooth creamy filling of pureed pumpkin mixed with sugar, cream or milk, eggs, and warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Pumpkin pie is popular as a fall dessert when pumpkins become ripe and is a traditional Thanksgiving pie. See recipe for Great Pumpkin Pie.

punch down – To use your hand or fist to deflate yeast dough after it has completed the first rising.

quaking pudding – British custard made with bread crumbs, cream, eggs, sugar, and spices.quark – An Austrian soft uncured cheese that is similar to cottage cheese. It has a creamy texture and tangy taste and is often used in European pastries.

quart – A volume measurement equivalent to 4 cups, or 2 pints, or 32 fluid ounces.

queen of puddings – British vanilla custard made with bread crumbs, spread with jam, and topped with browned meringue.

queen of Sheba – A French chocolate cake made with ground almonds and egg whites. After baking the center sinks slightly while cooling, and is filled with crème anglaise.

quick bread – A sweet or savory bread made with eggs and baking powder or baking soda for leavening instead of yeast. Quick breads are normally light and moist and can be served as a snack, afternoon tea, or dessert. See recipes for Quick Bread.

quindin – A Brazilian custard made with coconut milk, sugar, and eggs.

qt – the abbreviation for quart.

Raisins – Sun or air-dried grapes typically made from Thomson seedless grapes. Raisins are small, sweet, withered, and often used in baking. Dark raisins are brownish-black in color and probably the most popular variety. Golden raisins have a pale, golden-yellow color. They are treated with sulfur dioxide to prevent them from turning dark. See recipe for Raisin Spice Cookies.

ramekin – An individual sized ceramic baking dish, normally smooth on the inside with a fluted exterior. Ramekins are often used to bake custards and soufflés.

raspberry sauce – A thick pourable mixture made with pureed fresh raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and often chambord or framboise liqueur.

red velvet cake – A Southern chocolate cake dyed bright or dark red with food coloring, and normally frosted with cream cheese frosting. The red color makes these cakes popular at Christmas time. See recipes for Red Velvet Cake, Red Velvet Cupcakes.

refrigerate – To place food in a refrigerator so it becomes chilled.

refrigerator cookies – Also called icebox cookies. The cookie dough is rolled into a log shape, chilled in the refrigerator or freezer until firm, then sliced and baked. See recipe for Vanilla Nut Refrigerator Cookies.

religieuse the French word for “nun.” Religieuse pastry looks similar to a nun in her habit. Two pate a choux puffs are baked, one large and one small. The puffs are filled with chocolate, vanilla, or coffee pastry cream, stacked with the small puff on top of the large puff, and then decorated with fondant and Buttercream.

rest – Yeast dough often needs to sit without being handled.

ribbon – A term that describes the consistency of a batter or beaten eggs. The mixture is beaten until it is thick, and when the beater or whisk is lifted from the bowl the batter drops slowly in “ribbons” and holds its shape for a few seconds before sinking into the mixture.

rice paper – An edible and almost transparent paper made from water and rice flour or the pith of the Chinese rice-paper plant. The paper is flavorless and is used to line baking pans and separating cake layers.

rice pudding – A slow-cooked pudding made with rice cooked with milk, sugar, butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and normally raisins or currants. Rice pudding has a creamy texture due to the slow cooking which allows the rice to absorb all of the milk.

ricotta cheese – Fresh unripened moist cheese with a slightly sweet taste. Ricotta cheese can be mixed with sugar and served over fresh fruit, and is often used in many Italian desserts and cheesecakes. See recipe for Ricotta Butter Cake.

rising buckets – A lidded rising bucket is a 2 to 6 quart acrylic or plastic bucket with measurements on the side, making it easy to judge when the dough had doubled or tripled in size. An alternative is placing your dough in a large mixing bowl and covering with a small kitchen towel.

rolled cookies – A cookie made by rolling out firm or chilled cookie dough with a rolling pin, and then cut into individual shapes with a cookie cutter.

rolled fondant – Rolled fondant is the smooth, elegant, white as snow or food color tinted sugar icing used to cover many professional cakes. A fondant covering helps the cake underneath to stay moist, along with creating a perfectly smooth blank canvas that other decorations can be applied to, or left elegantly plain. Classic rolled fondant is made with confectioners’ sugar, gelatin, glucose or corn syrup, and glycerin. Rolled fondant is mixed, kneaded until pliable and smooth, and rolled out with a rolling pin. See recipe for Classic Rolled Fondant.

rolling pin – A good rolling pin is essential for rolling pie pastry, sugar cookie dough, and bread dough. There are two basic styles of rolling pins, dowel and ball bearing. When deciding which to buy try it out on a flat surface and choose the one that is most comfortable for you to use. A rolling pin, if properly taken care of, should last a lifetime. Never submerge it in water or place in the dishwasher. To clean simply wipe it down with a warm damp cloth and allow to air dry.

A dowel rolling pin is a single piece of rounded wood, some have tapered ends, and some are long and straight. To roll, place your hands in the center of the pin and roll from the fingertips to the palm of your hand and back again. My favorite is a French tapered pin, perfect for rolling a circular pastry.

Ball bearing pins have a long barrel in the center, made of wood, marble, metal, or plastic, that moves separately from the handles. The handles are what bear your weight as you are rolling dough. Shop for rolling pins.

rolling pin rings – Also called rolling pin spacers, these are rubber rings that slip onto opposite ends of your rolling pan, and are ideal for getting your dough to an even, uniform thickness. The rings raise the pin from the counter a precise distance according to the thickness of the rings being used. The thickness of the dough is determined by the space between the pin and the counter. Shop for rolling pin rings.

rolling pin sleeve and pastry board cloths – These cotton gauze cloths are designed to keep pastry dough from sticking to the rolling pin and pastry board. The rolling pin sleeve is a cylinder of gauze that fits over the pin; the cloth is a large square, normally canvas that covers the pastry board or work area on which you are rolling. By rubbing flour into the weave of the cloth and rolling pin cover, you create a nonstick coating, enabling you to roll dough more easily, and allowing less flour to be absorbed into the dough. The pastry cloth also allows you to easily rotate the pastry as you are rolling. Shop for pastry cloth and rolling pin covers.

room temperature – The average normal room temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Some baking ingredients, such as butter, are best used at room temperature.

rosette – A swirled design that looks similar to a rose, made from piping icing or whipped cream with a pastry bag and star shaped decorating tip.

rose water – A pale pink, sweet, fragrant liquid distilled from rose petals, used as a flavoring in desserts, pastries, and confections. Rose water is very concentrated and only a small amount is needed to impart the flavor. See recipe for Rose Water Meringue Cookies.

roulade – Also called a jelly roll is a sponge cake that is rolled up in the shape of a log after baking and while still warm. When the cake is cooled it is unrolled and spread with jam or other fillings such as whipped cream or buttercream. The cake is then re-rolled into the log shape. The top may be frosted or dusted with confectioners’ sugar, then sliced to serve. See recipe for Strawberry Roulade.

royal icing – An icing that dries to a long-lasting, rock hard finish. Royal icing is made with confectioners’ sugar, egg whites or dried meringue powder, and a small amount of water or lemon juice. Royal icing is often tinted with food coloring and used to decorate cakes and cookies. See Royal Icing.

rubber or silicone spatulas – Rubber or Silicone spatulas are one of the most versatile and important tools in a baking kitchen. Rubber spatulas have mostly been replaced with silicone spatulas which are easier to clean and have a higher heat resistance. Spatulas have many uses including scraping batters down from the sides and bottom of a mixing bowl, spreading fillings, stirring stovetop custards and chocolate while heating, folding lighter ingredients into heavy batters, scrambling eggs, and more.

Spatulas come in a variety of sizes and may be made of a solid piece of silicone or have a silicone blade attached to a wooden, plastic or stainless steel handle. A small 1 inch spatula is handy for scraping out the inside of measuring cups and containers. A 2 inch spatula is good for stirring, blending, and scraping the sides and bottom of a mixing bowl. A larger 3 inch spatula is best for folding ingredients together. Shop for spatulas.

rugelach – A rich cookie made with a cream cheese dough that is cut into triangles and rolled around a filling into a crescent shape. The filling is normally made with jam, poppy seeds, raisins, chocolate, or nuts. See recipe for Rugelach.

ruler – An everyday 18 inch clear plastic, metal, or wood ruler is a helpful tool for measuring pans, measuring rolled pastry dough, cutting bar cookies into uniform sizes, as a guide when splitting cakes into equal layers, or measuring 1 inch cuts for cinnamon rolls. The ruler also provides a neat, straight cutting edge and is easy to wash.

rum butter – A hard sauce made with butter, sugar, and rum.

Russian teacake cookies – Also called Mexican Wedding Cake, Italian Butter Nut Cookies, Butterballs, and Snowballs. These cookies are rich with butter and nuts, rolled in confectioners’ sugar and seem to melt in your mouth. See recipe for Russian Teacake Cookies.

sable – The French word for sand. Sable refers to a cookie or cake made from a delicate, crumbly, sandy dough. Sables may be made with nuts or ground almonds along with orange or lemon zest.Sachertorte – A rich, dense chocolate Viennese torte that is either filled or coated with apricot preserves, and iced with a poured chocolate topping. The word “Sacher” is traditionally written on top of the cake with chocolate or white icing.

Sally Lunn – A rich, sweet yeast bun made with flour, eggs, yeast, cream, sugar, and flavors such as lemon and nutmeg. Sally Lunns are served warm, split in half, and spread with butter or whipped cream.

sanding sugar – coarse sugar, normally colored, used for decorating cakes, cookies, and other pastries.

Sarah Bernhardt – A Danish pastry created in honor of the nineteenth century actress. The pastry is an almond macaroon, topped with a kiss shaped mound of chocolate ganache, and then completely covered in dark chocolate.

savarin – A sweet yeast cake baked in a savarin ring mold, similar to Baba but made without raisins. The cake is soaked with rum or kirshwasser after baking and brushed with apricot glaze. The center is filled with pastry cream or crème Chantilly. The savarin is decorated with candied cherries, angelica, or fresh fruit.

savarin mold – A savarin mold is a ring mold with an extra-large hole in its center. A savarin mold is made specifically for the classic French Savarin dessert which is a light, yeast-risen sweet cake soaked with liqueur syrup. However a Savarin mold can also be used for other cake and quick bread batters, ice creams and mousses. Shop for savarin molds.

scald – To heat liquid to just before the boiling point. Or, dipping food into boiling water.

scale – Professional bakers use scales to weigh ingredients instead of using measuring cups to measure by volume, for the simple reason that weight measurements are more precise and accurate. Scales are used to measure dry ingredients, along with nuts, dried and fresh fruits, and chocolate, and to measure out portions of dough. The scale is also helpful to determine if multiple cake pans have the same amount of batter.

There are two types of scales, digital and mechanical, with digital scales being the most accurate. A thin, battery powered digital scale with a flat platform for weighing is affordable and is the easiest to use for most home bakers. Look for a scale that measures up to about 10 pounds, has an automatic shut-off that will remain on for at least 5 minutes, has a “tare” button to reset the scale to zero in order to measure the next ingredient, and the ability to change from pounds and ounces to metric. In addition, all the buttons and controls should be on the front of the scale, not the bottom or the back of the scale. Shop for kitchen scales.

scone – A Scottish quick bread made in round, square, or triangular shapes. Scones are normally sweet, split in half and spread with butter, clotted cream, or lemon curd. Original scones were made with oats; modern scones are made with oats or other flours, sometimes fruits and nuts, and sweetened with sugar or honey, and may be topped with an icing or glaze. See Scone Recipes.

score – Making thin lines or slashes in food. For example before baking bread, use a knife to make slashes in the top so steam can escape.

seize – When chocolate is being melted and comes into contact with water, the chocolate “seizes up.” becoming a lumpy grainy mass.

semisweet chocolate – Chocolate that contains approximately 60% chocolate liquor and 40% sugar. Shop for semisweet chocolate.

separate – Removing the yolk from the white of a raw egg.

seven minute frosting – a cooked meringue frosting with an appearance of soft fluffy clouds. The frosting is made with egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and flavoring and heated and whipped over a double boiler for approximately 7 minutes until the frosting is thick and fluffy. See recipe for Seven Minute Frosting.

sheet cake pans – A single layer sheet cake is most often baked in a 13 x 9 x 2 inch Rectangular Pan, replacing a typical two-layer cake. The pan should be at least 2 inches deep, and for ease in cleaning, look for pans that have slightly rounded inside corners. Square corners can trap crumbs in the crevices. Shop for sheet cake pans.

shoofly pie – A Pennsylvania Dutch pie that is very sweet and spicy. The pie is made with molasses custard filling and topped with a crumb topping made with brown sugar, flour, butter, and spices. The name is though to come from the fact that the pie is so sweet that it attracts flies that must be shooed away.

shortbread – A rich cookie with a high proportion of butter to flour. Traditional shortbread is made with flour, sugar, butter, and salt and formed in a large round circle. After the cookie is baked it is cut into pie shaped wedges. Shortbread recipes may include nuts, candied fruit, citrus zest, or spices, and may be dipped in chocolate.

shortcake – A sweet, crumbly, cake like biscuit. After baking the cake is normally split in half and served with fruit and sweetened whipped cream. See recipe for Strawberry Shortcake.

short dough – A cookie or pastry dough with a high proportion of butter or fat to flour, producing a cookie or pastry with a rich, tender, and crumbly texture.

sift – to pass ingredients, such as flour, or powdered sugar, through a mesh sieve to break up coarse particles. Sifting also mixes dry ingredients, such as flour and spices, together. Shop for sifters.

silver leaf – Edible, tasteless silver leaves made from pure silver. The leaves are ultra thin and sold in small square sheets separated by tissue paper. Silver leaf is used to decorate desserts and confections. It dissolves easily from the moisture in your hands if touched; therefore it is handled with a tweezers or a small dry artist brush. Shop for silver leaf.

simnel cake – An English cake normally served at Easter and Mother’s Day. The cake is made with dried fruits and candied peels or fruit zests, layered with almond paste or marzipan, and covered with marzipan. Marzipan balls are used to decorate the top of the cake. See recipe for Simnel Cake.

simple syrup – A pastry syrup made with equal parts granulated sugar and water that is briefly boiled to dissolve the sugar and then cooled. Sugar syrup may have a flavoring such as vanilla or almond extract added, and is used when preparing cakes and pastries, such as a soaking syrup for sponge cakes, dilute fondant when making poured fondant, poach or sweeten fruit, and to make glazes. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

slump – A baked deep dish fruit dessert from Colonial New England. Slumps normally have both a bottom and top crust similar to a dumpling dough that becomes crisp on the outside but stays soft and moist on the inside. Slumps are normally served with heavy cream.

smooth – Food with no lumps or pieces of solid food, such as a smooth cake batter.

smoothing – The process to smooth rolled fondant when placed over a cake so there are no lines, air bubbles, or wrinkles in the fondant.

s’mores – A traditional s’more is sweet and sticky gooey, but easy to make cookie associated with camping and campfires. A campfire toasted marshmallow and piece of chocolate bar are sandwiched between two graham crackers. They are so good that everyone always wants “some more.” See recipe for a non-traditional but delicious bar cookie, Rocky Road S’mores.

snickerdoodle – A sweet buttery cinnamon flavored cookie with a soft center and crinkly top. The cookie is formed into balls and rolled in a cinnamon and sugar mixture before baking. See recipe for Snickerdoodle Cookies.

soft ball stage – Indicates the stage and temperature when a small amount of hot sugar syrup is dropped into cold water and it forms a stiff sticky ball that flattens when removed from the water. The soft ball stage temperature ranges between 234 and 240 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

soft crack stage – Indicates the stage and temperature when a small amount of hot sugar syrup is dropped into cold water separates into strands that are firm but pliable when removed from the water. The hard crack stage temperature ranges between 270 and 290 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

soft peaks – The phase when beating egg whites or whipping cream and the beater is lifted out of the mixture, the peaks curl over.

soufflé – An airy baked dessert made with egg whites and custard or pastry cream. The egg whites are beaten to incorporate air into them, and then folded into the custard. While baking the trapped air causes the soufflé to rise. Soufflés must be served immediately as they begin to collapse when removed from the oven.

soufflé dish – Soufflé dishes are round, with deep, straight sides and decorative ridges on the outside. They range in size from ¼ cup up to 8 cups. Smaller soufflé dishes, also called ramekins, can also be used to bake individual soufflés, custards, bread puddings or crisps or cobblers. The smaller sizes are also useful for holding pre-measured ingredients when prepping ingredients for cookies or cakes. Shop for soufflé dishes

sponge – A pre-fermented mixture made with flour, water, and yeast. The mixture is allowed to ferment anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours before being added to a yeast dough. The pre-fermenting sponge provides added flavor and gets the fermentation and rising process off to a good start.

sponge cake – Sponge cakes are moist and light, with a bit of a spongy texture, are easily eaten plain without any type of frosting. Sponges are a versatile cake and made with a minimal of simple ingredients; eggs, sugar, flour and flavoring. With a typical sponge-type cake the egg yolks and egg whites are added separately. The egg yolks and sugar are beaten together until thick and light to incorporate air; the egg whites are beaten separately to stiff peaks, also to incorporate air, and then the egg whites and flour mixture are gently folded into the egg yolk mixture. Folding the ingredients in helps retain a light and airy texture to the batter. Most sponge cakes are made with no butter, and depending on the recipe there may be a small amount of baking powder added with the flour. A sponge cake recipe is generally used for making jelly roll-type cakes, baked using a jelly roll pan; the cake, being light, airy, spongy, and springy is flexible while still warm and easily rolled. A sponge cake, whether baked in a jelly roll pan or regular round or square cake pans, must be turned out of the pan as soon as it is baked, otherwise the cake will easily collapse from the steam. See recipe for Vanilla Cream Roll.

springerle – A German cookie flavored with anise seed. See recipe for Springerle Cookies.

springerle rolling pin – A Springerle rolling pin is normally very intricately carved, used for making traditional holiday German Springerle cookies. The anise flavored dough is rolled with the Springerle rolling pin, pressing the carved shapes into the dough. The dough is then normally left to dry overnight before baking. Springerle cookies can also be made in a cookie mold. Shop for springerle rolling pins.

springform pan – Springform pans are used for cheesecakes, streusel-topped cake, delicate tortes, and other cakes that would be damaged by turning them upside down to remove them from the pan. Springform pans are normally round, with expandable sides that are secured with a clamp and have a removable bottom. When the clamp is opened, the sides of the pan expand and release the bottom. When purchasing a springform pan, examine how tightly the side locks onto the pan bottom when clamped into position. Less expensive springform pans may be prone to leaking and will bend or warp easily. Shop for springform pans.

sprinkles – Also called jimmies and nonpareils. Sprinkles are tiny pieces of sugar candy, normally round or elongated, coated in a chocolate or a colored sugar topping. They are commonly used to decorate the tops of cakes, cookies, and pastries. Shop for sprinkles and non-pareils.

spritz cookies – A Swedish almond flavored butter cookie, named for the German word spritzen, meaning ‘to squirt,’ and are pressed from a cookie press or piped from a pastry bag. Spritz cookies are often baked at Christmas time. See recipe for Spritz Cookies.

spun sugar – Made from sugar and water cooked to the hard crack stage, then a fork or whisk is dipped into the hot syrup and waved back and forth over an oiled rolling pin or dowels to form fine, threadlike strands. The threads are then gathered up into a loose ball and used as a decoration on cakes or pastries.

square baking pan – Many bar cookie and brownie recipes, and some small cakes, use a square baking pan that is either 8 or 9 inches. The pans should be at least 2 or 2½ inches deep so that the batter doesn’t overflow. Choose pans with no seams on the inside and a good, heavy feel to them. Aluminum pans are the best for cookies and brownies, and a glass pan is best for fruit desserts, baked custards, and bread puddings. Shop for square baking pans.

steamed pudding – A sweet or savory pudding steamed in a mold and normally served with a sauce.

steamed pudding mold – A pudding steamer is used for steaming some puddings and breads. These pans are typically molded of aluminum or tinned steel with a tube in the middle and a clip-on watertight lid to keep the bread or pudding moist while baking. Breads, such as Boston Brown Bread, and puddings such as a traditional Christmas pudding are best when baked in a pudding steamer. After placing the batter in the steamer, the lid is clamped on and the pan is set on a rack in a kettle of 1 or 2 inches of simmering water. The bread or pudding is steamed on the stovetop or in the oven for 1 to 3 hours until cooked through, resulting in a dessert that is dense, moist, chewy, and beautifully shaped when it is turned out. Shop for pudding molds.

steep – Soaking food in a hot liquid. For example steep raisins in rum to soften and add flavor.

sticky bun – A sweet yeast bun baked with nut filling or cinnamon and sugar filling. The dough is rolled and formed into a log that is sliced into individual rounds, and then placed in a baking pan on top of a sticky mixture of pecans, butter, and brown sugar that caramelizes while baking. After the buns are baked they are turned over so the sticky topping is on top.

stiff peaks – The phase when beating egg whites or whipping cream and the beater is lifted out of the mixture, the peaks stand straight up.

stir – To blend ingredients together with either a spoon or spatula, or with an electric mixer on a low speed.

stollen – A German sweet yeast Christmas bread made with dried fruit and sometimes nuts. The dough is shaped into a long loaf, and then after baking covered with a sugar icing or heavy coating of confectioners’ sugar. See recipe for Stollen.

strawberry huller – This tool is a small, V-shaped piece of metal or plastic with serrated ends to remove the green hull from the top of the strawberry. An alternative is to use a small sharp paring knife. Shop for strawberry hullers.

streusel – A German crumbly topping made with butter, sugar, spices, and sometimes nuts. Streusel is often sprinkled on the top of sweet breads, pies, cakes, and muffins before baking to form a sweet crunchy crust. See recipe for Banana Bread with Streusel Topping.

strudel – A German pastry made with thin layers of dough wrapped around a sweet fruit filling. The pastry is formed into a long rectangular shape and then sliced into smaller pieces for serving.

sugar bloom – White sugar crystals that form on the surface of chocolate or other candies when exposed to moisture in the air.

sugar cookie – A short dough cookie popular for special occasions and holidays. The dough is normally rolled and cut into various shapes with cookie cutters. The cookies are served plain or decorated simply or elaborately using icings, or sugar sprinkles, dragees, and other products. See recipe for Vanilla Sugar Cookies.

sugarplum – A small confection made with dried fruits covered in fondant. See recipe for Sugarplums.

sugar syrup – pastry syrup made with granulated sugar and water that is briefly boiled to dissolve the sugar, and then cooled. The ratio of sugar to water varies depending on the desired sweetness. Sugar syrup may have a flavoring such as vanilla or almond extract added, and is used when preparing cakes and pastries, such as a soaking syrup for sponge cakes, dilute fondant when making poured fondant, poach or sweeten fruit, and to make glazes. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

sweetened condensed milk – A blend of whole milk and sugar that is heated to remove over half of the water, leaving a thick, sweet mixture. It is used as a sweetened in puddings, pies, and cookies. See recipe for Seven Layer Bars.

Swiss meringue Buttercream – A popular frosting made by heating sugar and water then slowly pouring into beaten egg whites until the mixture is thick and cooled, and then a large proportion of butter is beaten in. See recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

taffy – a soft chewy candy made with butter, sugar, and flavoring. Saltwater taffy uses a small amount of saltwater in the mixture.

tapioca – A starch extracted from the root of the cassava plant. Tapioca is sold as flour or little pellets called pears and is used as a thickening agent in pie fillings and other desserts. Pearl tapioca is used to make Tapioca Pudding.

tart – An open-faced pastry made freeform on a baking sheet or in a shallow pastry pan. A tart has a bottom pastry and is filled with a wide variety of sweet or savory fillings. A sweet tart may have a filling made with fruits, chocolate, custard, or nuts. Savory fillings may be made with cheese, vegetables, or meats. See recipe for Summer Berry Tart.

tart pan – Tart pans normally have a fluted edge and may come in round, square, or rectangular shapes. They often have a removable bottom which makes is easy to remove the tart without damaging the delicate crust. Since tart pans are normally shallow, about 1 inch deep, the tart crust stars equally along with the filling. Shop for tart pans.

tartlette pan – Small tartlette pans are designed as a one-serving size, perfect for buffets or teas. Six 4 or 4½ Tartlette pans will normally replace one large 9 inch tart recipe. Tartlette pans can also be used to make individual cakes and muffins. Shop for tartlette pans.

tarte tatin – A French upside-down caramelized tart named after the Tatin sisters from the early twentieth century. The tarte is traditionally made with apples but many other fruits may be substituted. The fruit is combined with sugar or brown sugar and spices in a cast iron or tarte tatin pan. The fruit mixture is topped with a pastry and then baked. After baking the tart is turned out of the pan and placed upside down on a serving plate. See recipe for Peach-Nectarine Tarte Tatin.

tarte tatin pan – A classic Tarte Tatin pan is 9½ inch diameter copper, lined with tin or stainless steel, with handles on the sides to make unmolding easy. Tarte Tatin is a caramelized upside-down apple tart, a classic French dessert. The pastry is placed over the caramelized apples before baking, and then after baking, the tart is turned out of the pan so the pastry is on the bottom. Shop for tarte tatin pans.

tea cake – Tea cakes may be any variety of small cakes served with afternoon tea. Tea cake is also a buttery yeast bun made with dried fruits, glazed with sugar syrup, and dusted with a cinnamon sugar mixture. See recipe for Lemon Tea Cakes.

temper chocolateSee Tempering Chocolate.

thread stage – Indicates the stage and temperature when a small amount of hot sugar syrup is dropped into cold water and it forms loose, thin threads. The thread stage temperature ranges between 223 and 234 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.

tiramisu – An Italian dessert meaning “pick me up” that is similar to a trifle. Tiramisu is made with layers of coffee and brandy soaked ladyfingers or sponge cake, zabaglione custard, mascarpone cheese, and then garnished with sweetened whipped cream and cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

toffee – A brittle, crunchy and buttery candy made from sugar, butter, and water that is cooked to the soft crack stage, and then poured onto a marble slab in a thin layer to cool. Once the candy is hardened and cooled, it is broken into smaller irregular pieces. The toffee may be eaten as is or dipped in chocolate and chopped nuts. See recipe for English Toffee.

torrone – Italian nougat candy made with honey, sugar, egg whites, and toasted almonds. See recipe for Nougat (Torrone.)

torta – The Italian word for tart, cake, or pie. The Spanish word for loaf or cake. The Portuguese word for cake or tart.

torta delizia – An Italian sponge cake filled with pastry cream or jam and covered with almond paste. It is briefly baked to brown the almond paste and then brushed with a sweet glaze.

torta di mandorle – An Italian almond tart originating in Venice. The dessert is made with a pastry shell filled with frangipane, topped with whole almonds, baked, and then heavily dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

torta diplomatica – An Italian cake made with layers of puff pastry, pastry cream, and sponge cake soaked with rum syrup. The cake is covered with pastry cream and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

torta nicolota – An Italian bread pudding made with bread, milk, sugar, and added flavorings such as lemon zest, raisins, rum, and cinnamon.

torte – The German word for cake. Tortes come in many varieties of cakes and pastries. They are typically made with ground nuts replacing all or some of the flour, along with eggs, sugar, and butter. Well known tortes include Sachertorte and Linzertorte. See recipe for Chocolate Pecan Torte.

tortoni – An Italian dessert prepared in individual sized portions, and made with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream and rum, along with chopped almonds and crumbled macaroons.

trifle – An English dessert made in a deep bowl that is layered with liqueur soaked ladyfingers or sponge cake, jam or fruit, custard, and garnished with sweetened whipped cream and sliced almonds.

truffle – A rich confection made with chocolate and other flavorings such as fruits, nuts, spices, and liqueurs. Truffles are normally rolled into a small ball and may be rolled in cocoa powder to resemble the truffle fungus. See recipe for Chocolate Almond Truffles.

tube pans – The tube is used to conduct heat through the center of a cake, ensuring that the cake bakes evenly. Tube pans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with Angel Food Cake Pans and Bundt Pans being the most common. Except for Angel Food Cake, fluted pans must be generously coated with butter or shortening, then dusted with flour for easy removal from the pan.

Angel Food Cake Pans: Angel Food Cake is baked in a tube shaped pan that is ungreased, allowing the cake to raise high by clinging to the sides of the pan, and then turned upside down after baking so the cake does not collapse while cooling. An Angel food cake pan should not be non-stick, allowing the cake to raise by clinging to the sides of the pan and almost doubling in size during baking; and it should include either “feet” that the pan sits on when turned upside down, or a tube that is wide enough to fit over the top of a glass bottle or wine bottle. A pan with a removable bottom makes removing the cooled cake from the pan, and clean-up easier. Shop for angel food cake pans.

Bundt Pans: Bundt is pronounced “bunt” with the “d” being silent. A Bundt cake is baked in a special pan called a Bundt pan, a ring shaped pan with fluted sided, originally created to prepare German Kugelhopf cake. National Bundt Pan Day is November 15th. The modern Bundt pan was developed by the Nordic Ware company in 1950, and its fame rose after a Pillsbury-sponsored baking contest in 1966. The 9 x 4½ inch Nordic Ware Bundt Pan is my favorite, and can be used for many cake recipes. Shop for Bundt pans.

Fluted Tube Pans: These pans are fun to use, producing a fancier cake than a basic layer cake. Pans such as Bavaria shape, castle shape, chrysanthemum shape, star shape, heart shape are just a few of the fun shapes to choose from. Shop for fluted tube pans.

Kugelhopf Pans: Kugelhopf pans are for baking Kugelhopf, A European cake baked in a special Kugelhopf pan which is a deep, round, tube pan with ornate fluting, and a narrow center tube. The cake is a sweet yeast cake studded with raisins, nuts, and candied fruits, and has a round pyramid shape when the cake in unmolded. Shop for kugelhopf pans.

tuile – A delicate, thin, crisp almond flavored cookie. The cookies are formed into a curve shape resembling a roof tile by placing over a rolling pin after baking and while they are still warm. Tuile is the French word for tile.

Turkish delight – A sweet gelatin confection from Turkey made with fruit juice, sugar, honey, gelatin, and normally either pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios. After the mixture is cooked it is poured into a pan to cool, and then cut into squares and covered with confectioners’ sugar.

turnover – A pastry that is folded in half to enclose a sweet or savory filling. The pastry may be formed into half circles, crescents, or triangles and is either baked or fried.

twelfth night cake – Also known as Epiphany Cake or King Cake. A cake served on Epiphany, January 6th. The cake may be a butter or sponge cake, but is typically a yeast cake shaped in a round or ring shape. Traditionally a small token is baked into the cake, and the person receiving the slice with the token is named king or queen of the day.

Tyler pie – A Southern pie created in honor of President John Tyler. The pie is made with butter, eggs, cream, brown sugar, and is garnished with toasted coconut.

unleavened – baked items that contain no leavening, also called flatbreads.unmold – To remove a cake, candy, or other item from the pan or container that provides the item’s shape.

unsalted butter – Butter that is made with no salt added. Unsalted butter is recommended for baking because the amount of salt added in salted butter can vary from 1.5% to 2.5%. With unsalted butter you can control the amount of salt used in the baked product.

unsweetened chocolate – Also called bakers or baking chocolate, it is made from pure chocolate liquor with no added sugar, flavoring, or cocoa butter. Shop for unsweetened baking chocolate.

unsweetened cocoa – Cocoa butter is extracted from pure chocolate liquor, leaving dry cakes of cocoa. These cakes are ground to make cocoa powder. Unsweetened cocoa has no added sugar, flavoring, or cocoa butter, and has an acid base. If alkali is added to the cocoa powder, the acidity of the cocoa is neutralized its acidity along with enriching the flavor, and is known as Dutch-processed cocoa. Shop for unsweetened cocoa.

upside-down cake – a cake baked with fruit covering the bottom of the pan and normally a sugar mixture of butter and brown sugar that slightly caramelizes while baking. After the cake is baked it is inverted onto a serving plate so the fruit and sugar mixture is on top of the cake. See recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

vacherin – A French dessert made from rings of baked meringue piped and stacked in the shape of a basket. The basket is filled with crème Chantilly or ice cream and fruit. The top may be left open or covered with a baked meringue lid, and then garnished with sugared flowers.

vanilla bean – The pod of a tropical climbing orchid vine grown in southern Mexico, Tahiti, and Madagascar. The pods are picked green, then cured by placing in a boiling water bath, then alternately wrapped to sweat in the sun and dried, producing a bean with a dark shriveled appearance with the outside encrusted with white crystals called vanillin.

Vanilla beans are often used to flavor desserts. To use the vanilla bean for flavoring, the bean is split open to reveal the tiny black seeds that contain the most potent vanilla flavor. After the seeds are removed, the remaining bean can be used to flavor sugar. See recipe for Vanilla Bean Cupcakes.

vanilla extract – A widely used and popular flavor for baked items and confections.

Pure vanilla extract is produced by steeping vanilla beans in an alcohol and water mixture. It is very concentrated and only a small amount is needed to impart the flavor. Shop for pure vanilla extract.

Imitation vanilla extract is made entirely of artificial flavorings. It is less expensive than pure vanilla extract, with a harsher quality that may give a bitter aftertaste. It is more diluted and requires a greater amount to give a vanilla flavor.

vanilla kipferi – An Austrian Christmas butter cookie, made with a rich dough of butter, ground almonds, sugar, and vanilla. After baking the cookies are rolled in confectioners’ sugar.

vanilla powder – Whole dried vanilla beans that are ground to a powder.

vanilla sauce – Another name for crème anglaise.

vanilla sugar – Confectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar infused with vanilla flavor. Vanilla sugar is normally made with the remaining bean after the inner black seeds are removed for other recipes. One or more beans are placed in a jar and covered with sugar. The jar is covered and left to sit for at least 24 hours to allow the sugar to absorb the vanilla flavor. The longer the beans are left in the sugar, the stronger the flavor. The sugar can be replenished for several months. Vanilla sugar can be used to sweeten beverages and substituted in most recipes that contain sugar.

vanillin – The white crystals that form on the outside of the vanilla beans during the curing process. Vanillin is also produced synthetically as a by-product of the paper industry and used to flavor imitation vanilla extract.

vatrouchka – A Russian cheesecake made with cheese curd and dried fruits, and topped with sweet pastry dough in a lattice design and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

vatrouchki – A Russian turnover filled with cheese curd and sometimes fruit.

vegan – A person who does not eat anything derived from animals including meat, butter, eggs, cheese, and milk. Baked items may use fruits, vegetables, nuts, and soy milk as a substitute.

Veneziana – An Italian bread made at Christmastime and New Year’s. The bread is similar to pannetone but has no candied fruit or citron.

Viennese horn – Also caked kipferin. A Viennese butter cookie in a crescent shape made at Christmastime. The cookie is made with ground almonds and rolled in confectioners’ sugar.

Victoria sandwich cake – An English cake made with two layers of sponge cake filled with raspberry or strawberry jam along with sweetened whipped cream or buttercream. The top and sides of the cake are frosted with additional whipped cream or buttercream and garnished with toasted sliced almonds. This cake is names for Queen Victoria.

wafer – A very thin, crisp biscuit or cookie.waffle – Crisp cakes made by pouring a thin batter on a waffle iron. The waffle bakes in the waffle iron, producing a honeycomb surface. The waffle batter is typically made from flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and milk, and served hot topped with butter and confectioners’ sugar, jam, honey, or syrup.

waffle iron – An appliance with two hinged metal plates that close together. Waffle batter is poured on the bottom plate, and then covered with the top plate. Electric waffle irons cook both sides of the waffle at once. Stovetop irons cook one side at a time; when one side is done, the iron is turned over to cook the other side.

walnut – The fruit of the walnut tree. Walnuts are widely used in baking. Walnuts have a buttery flavor that is enhanced by toasting. Shop for walnuts.

walnut oil – Oil extracted from English walnuts. Walnut oil is more expensive than vegetable oils, but adds a nice flavor to baked items. See recipe for Walnut Chiffon Cake. Shop for walnut oil.

water bath – Also known as bain-marie, the French term for water bath. A water bath protects delicate desserts, such as custards and cheesecakes as they bake from curdling and cracking, as the water provides insulation against high heat. The baking pan is set into a larger pan that holds a shallow amount of hot water.

wedding cake – A special cake, normally elaborately decorated, and the centerpiece of a wedding celebration.

whip – To make food such as batter or cream stiff and creamy by adding air to it with short quick movements, using a fork, whisk, or electric beater.

whipped cream – Heavy cream that is whipped to incorporate air to form a fluffy texture. Whipped cream is used as a topping, garnish, or filling for desserts.

whisk – To whip soft or liquid ingredients together, usually done with a wire whisk. Shop for whisks.

white chocolate – A blend of cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Because white chocolate contains no chocolate liquor it is technically not chocolate. See recipe for White Chocolate Holiday Bark.

wire cooling rack – Wire cooling racks are a necessity for setting just-out-of-the-oven hot baking pans to cool. Hot pans placed on a flat surface can cause the baked item to become soggy, due to condensation that forms under the pan. Cooling racks are also helpful to use when drizzling icing or chocolate on top of cookies, cakes, or pastries as the icing drips thru the rack instead of forming a puddle.

Cooling racks are sold in various sizes, including round, square, and rectangular shapes. They should have feet of at least ½ inch that raise them above the counter for good air circulation. Have at least one rack that is large enough to hold several batches of cookies. Shop for wire cooling racks.

wire whisk – A wire whisk is another versatile baking tool, used to whisk or stir wet or dry ingredients together, beating egg whites or cream, stirring ingredients as they heat in a saucepan and folding ingredients together. Whisks come in various sizes and strength of wire. The stronger the wire, the heavier the task the whisk can perform. A sauce whisk is long and narrow, designed to blend mixtures, reach into the corners of a saucepan, and whisk out any lumps without incorporating a lot of air into the mixture. A round, fat balloon whisk is designed to add air to mixtures and is the best choice for whipping egg whites and heavy cream. A small mini whisk is also helpful for small jobs such as beating eggs or egg yolks. Shop for wire whisks.

wooden spoon – Nothing beats a good set of wooden spoons in the kitchen. Wooden spoons are strong and durable, withstand heat, won’t scratch nonstick pans, and perfect for stirring almost anything, including hot liquids on the stovetop. Purchase spoons that are well made, strong, and made from a hard wood. Shop for wooden spoons.

X – The symbol used on label of confectioner’s sugar. The x represents the degree of fineness, the more x’s,the finer the grade of sugar. The x’s indicate the number of holes per inch on the screens used that form the size of the sugar crystals.10 X – Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar is sometimes referred to as 10 X sugar. This indicates there were 10 holes per inch in the screens used during processing of the sugar.

yak bap – A Korean dessert made with creamy rice, dates, pine nuts, chestnuts, and sweetened with honey.

yam – A tropical root vegetable, often confused with sweet potatoes, but also easily interchangeable with sweet potatoes in recipes. Yams are larger than sweet potatoes, with a starchier taste and higher moisture content.

yeast – A single-celled living organism that is a fungus. Yeast is used as a leavening agent in bread. Yeast grows and multiplies when it is exposed to moisture, the temperature is between 85 and 95 degrees, and it has sugar for food.

yeast bread – A bread that is leavened by yeast. See recipes for Yeast Bread.

yogurt – Milk that has been fermented by adding bacteria to create a custard-like consistency with a tangy taste. Yogurt is primarily made with cows’ milk however other animals’ milk can be used. Plain yogurt, with no additional flavorings or sweeteners, is often used in baking to replace cream or sour cream.

Yorkshire pudding – A British popover traditionally served with roast beef. Yorkshire pudding is savory, not sweet, made from a thin batter poured into muffing tins that are greased with beef drippings, baked in a hot oven, creating a puffy popover with a crisp top.

Yule log – see Buche de noel.

zabaglione – An Italian custard, that is made by whipping egg yolks, sugar, and sweet marsala wine in a zabaglione pan or over a double boiler until it’s thick and creamy. It is served as a dessert by itself or used as a dessert sauce with cake, ice cream, or fruit.zabaglione pan – a deep copper pan with a rounded bottom, designed so zabaglione can be easily whisked over simmering water.

zaletti – An Italian cookie made with cornmeal and flavored with lemon zest, vanilla, and raisins soaked in rum.

zest – Zest from citrus fruit such as oranges and lemons is the coarse outer rind of the fruit. (Only the colored part of the rind, not the bitter inner white portion, contains the flavor.) With a sharp knife, potato peeler, zest tool, or zest grater, remove the outer rind from the fruit. If the pieces are too big, you can chop the zest with a knife or coarsely grind it in a blender or food processor before adding to the recipe.

zimtsterne – The German word for “cinnamon stars”, an almond Christmas cookie flavored with lemon juice or kirsch. Before baking the cutout stars are topped with a cinnamon-flavored meringue. After baking they can be left plain or decorated with colored sugar sprinkles. See recipe for Cinnamon Stars.

zitron – A Swiss pastry made with a sweet tart dough filled with lemon curd and topped with a thin layer of yellow fondant. The top is normally decorated with a chocolate Z drawn on top.

zuccotto – An Italian dessert in the shape of a dome, thought to resemble an Italian cathedral. Ladyfinger cookies that have been soaked in liqueur line a dome-shaped mold, and then the middle is filled with a mixture of whipped cream, sugar, chocolate, and toasted hazelnuts. The dessert is chilled for several hours, then unmolded and dusted with a mixture of confectioners’ sugar and cocoa.

zugor kirschtorte – A Swiss torte made layered with almond or hazelnut meringue kirsch soaked Genoise, and kirsch flavored Buttercream. The layers are then covered with more Buttercream then coated with ground toasted hazelnuts. The top of the torte is dusted with a heavy coating of confectioners’ suger then scored in a diamond pattern.

zuppa inglese – An Italian dessert meaning “English soup.” Zuppa inglese is a chilled dessert, similar to an English triffle. The dessert is made by layering kirsch soaked sponge cake with pastry cream, whipped cream, toasted almonds and candied fruit. Some versions include a meringue topping browned in the over before serving.